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Mural's future flaky

Peeling paint might doom 1996 work of art

Peeling paint might doom 1996 work of art

January 17, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - City officials are considering removing the mural on the north wall of the Elizabeth Hager Center.

Costs associated with repairing the mural that depicts Hagerstown's history could cost as much as $20,000, said Kevin Moriarty, spokesman for the Washington County Arts Council.

Moriarty said during a Tuesday work session of the Hagerstown City Council that the mural is peeling because the wall wasn't prepared properly before artists started painting in 1996.

The improper preparation caused a 2001 restoration attempt to fail, Moriarty said. That failure left the mural's removal as the best and most cost-effective option.

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"What we don't want to do is have something become a constant maintenance issue ... that never will look 100 percent," he said.

Eric B. Deike, the city's manager of public works, said he wasn't sure how much it would cost to remove the mural, but he suggested using a power washer to strip the paint.

He asked the council to give him direction, saying a date hasn't been established to begin the project.

Councilman Martin Brubaker recommended leaving the mural in place until the council decides what to do with the wall.

Brubaker said the wall could be more of an eyesore if the mural's removal leaves a "scrubbed" appearance.

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