Chardon City Council All Aboard With New Murals
September 21, 2023 by Allison Wilson

Chardon City is about to get a splash of new color after city council members agreed to have local artist Elliott Miller paint two new murals on the pump filtration building on Park Avenue.

Chardon City is about to get a splash of new color after city council members agreed to have local artist Elliott Miller paint two new murals on the pump filtration building on Park Avenue.

The Chardon High School alum also painted a mural on Chardon Square in 2022.

The pump station, by the trailhead, will feature two scenes harkening back to the city’s origins as a railway hub.

Interpretive signs telling the history of the area are also in the works.

“This is an area where we’re going to have more interpretive signs, probably four, five, six signs, and actually, we have a piece of rail we’re getting cleaned up. We’re going to have … the signs welded onto those,” said City Manager Randy Sharpe during Chardon City Council’s Sept. 14 regular meeting.

The south wall, facing Park Avenue, will be painted with a map depicting the Baltimore & Ohio and Cleveland & Eastern railways that ran through Geauga County, Miller said, adding it will be flanked on one side by an electric locomotive in front of the historic Chardon Courthouse and on the other by a steam locomotive in front of a water tower.

Meanwhile, the west wall, facing the trail, will be painted with an image of a steam locomotive on the B&O line, he said.

“(The south wall) has more of a historical representation of everything that happened and everything that was in the area,” Miller explained. “The design is based off of illustrations that were very similar to this from 1890. On the west side wall will be the actual depiction of the B&O Railroad that runs through the area.”

While there was discussion of painting all four sides of the building, that isn’t possible right now due to time, funds and already present graffiti. The west wall mural may be extended onto the north wall at a later date, he said.

Miller expects he can begin painting within the week.

Council also discussed a recommendation to close the Heritage House bathrooms during events on the square with over 100 people in attendance and lasting over four hours.

“The Heritage House facilities were constructed for no more than 60 guests within the Heritage House and for an event that lasts anywhere from four to five hours,” said Director of Public Service Paul Hornyak.

Hornyak said as events on the square have increased in frequency and size, the Heritage House bathrooms have suffered the consequences.

“We’ve seen over the course of the last few years where events that are over 100 guests and lasting for over four hours have created overuse issues and recovery issues,” Hornyak explained.

Lands and Buildings Supervisor Mike Butt was constantly being called in to fix the bathrooms during events, he said.

“It seems like every event now, there’s an issue with them,” Butt said, adding the bathrooms cannot be expanded due to water supply issues and he believes the best solution is to close them to everyone during large events.

Council was split on the issue of allowing only vendors to use the facilities.

Councilman David Lelko expressed concern at the rigidity of the proposed mandate.

“You set up a policy like this, then you’re giving no flexibility whatsoever to staff working with the group,” he said.

Vice-Mayor Heather Means added, “But you’re treating everybody the same,” pointing out it would be more difficult for the staff if they had to constantly monitor who was in the bathrooms.

“If the restrooms are open and left open and you have exceptions, then the staff is always going to be on call to deal with whatever comes up,” she said.

A motion was passed to approve the recommendation.

Urban Forester David Allen spoke briefly about his plans for the future.

“We’ve been noticing and we’ve been asked to put some time into planning what to do with the honey locusts on Main Street,” Allen said, explaining the tree’s roots have been moving bricks.

“I imagine the short-term (solution) is lifting up the bricks, cutting the root or shaving the root down, then put them back, but then five years later, you have the same problem,” he said.

A long-term solution would be looking into contractors to remove the trees and replace them with a different species, Allen said.

He also noted an invasive insect, the spotted lanternfly, has been spotted in every major city in Ohio.

“The word is just smash it when you see it,” Allen said. “They’re very, very pretty, but they gotta go.”