(Red Oak) — Red Oak city officials have given the go-ahead for a local group to paint planter boxes along the square.
During its regular meeting Monday night, the Red Oak City Council unanimously approved a request from the Red Oak Arts Destination, or ROAD, group to paint eight concrete planter boxes on the corners of the downtown square. Phil Lamb, a member of the ROAD group, says his group hopes to paint only the exterior of the planters, which are currently gray, and plans to use methods to ensure the paint remains for an extended time.
“We have murals in Red Oak that are 12 years old or more that you can’t even tell that they are anywhere close to that age, and with the technology that’s changed in paint, that should go on and on,” said Lamb. “We would use a concrete primer and that would be a barrier from any excess water from the inside of the planter boxes that would weep out which is normal concrete.”
Additionally, Lamb says ROAD is not asking for any money from the council and would handle the paint purchases and any future upkeep to the painted portions of the planters.
Lamb says a survey of the businesses on the square gave a resounding “yes” to the painting–which will be done by local painters.
“15 of 15 gave us a ‘yes’ of the businesses on the square who would like this to happen,” said Lamb. “I should say small business owners and building owners–not just the people who work there, but also the people that own buildings down there.”
Lamb adds the benches surrounding the planters would not need to be removed to perform the job, and the paintings could be re-done in the future if needed.
However, City Historic Commission President Dave McFarland raised concerns about how the project would interact with the city’s efforts to preserve the history of downtown Red Oak. He says this could be something that needs to be run by his commission first.
“The city of Red Oak kind of entered into a grant agreement and the idea to revitalizing the downtown was that it’s a historic thing, isn’t this kind of going against that a little bit,” McFarland questioned. “I noticed in the notes and agendas that I was sent, there was some question as to who was the authority on this. I think typically in most communities, you’ll find your historic commission are the ones that approve or disapprove these sort of things.”
However, Lamb noted the proposed painting areas shouldn’t affect anything historically significant.
“As far as this is concerned, the gray concrete is not historically designed,” said Lamb. “This is a new updated design, and the tan bricks that are beside that are not historic to the Red Oak area.”
Red Oak Mayor Shawnna Silvius also suggested Lamb run the plans by the Red Oak Chamber and Industry Association’s Marketing and Tourism Committee.