“What about; Roots in the Past. Eyes on the Future?” says Business Owner’s and Local Philanthropists Tim Hungerford and Teresa Misiti – “Important to encourage revisions to existing policies,” says Scott Robinson, President of Medina Area Partnership
Teresa Misiti and Tim Hungerford own the building and brought in the artist who created the now ‘TIK TOK’ popularized ‘Canalligator’ within an alleyway near Main Street in Medina.
Seemingly fed up with what some business owners describe as a slow churning and unpredictable application process, they painted first and applied later.
In an open letter to the Medina Village Board, Misiti and Hungerford, Owners of the building off Main Street where the mural is located, noted frustrations with what they see as a village board fixated on the historic value without recognizing the benefits of modernization.
In the letter, cut for brevity, they stated, “Our goal is to bring cultural modernism to Medina.” Building upon that notion, they added, “We may all care about Medina’s history and should. But the point is to create new history. To be present. To be an exemplary study of the new pastoral, bucolic Americana. To shed light upon our history while being present and having prescience for our future. To further garner outside social and economic interest in our beautiful village.”
The couple also noted their work on not only maintaining, but revitalizing the building as a whole, saying, “We have owned our building within the Historic District since 2013. We renovated this property under direct regulation of the National Parks Service historic preservation tax credit program. We followed their rules in order to fiscally justify the expense of the project. We preserved or accurately rebuilt all historic elements deemed worthy of preserving by both our architects and the National Parks Service. We incorporated absolute modernism where space was allowed to intentionally juxtapose the historic elements and further enhance their qualities via such contrast.”
The business owner’s also cited a lack of communication from the planning board members and code enforcement officials in Medina, noting, “We have never received written (or digital) official guidelines as to what we can or cannot do with our building. We have an element of brutalist architecture behind the building in the form of a concrete planter box. While we submitted and obtained our Certificate of Appropriateness for the front Main Street facade, the rear garden structure was never submitted to the planning board, nor was it ever cited.”
A centerpiece of the Medina Village Board’s opposition to this piece of art is that it rests within the Historic District, but as it is tucked within the back of the building, Hungerford and Misiti explained their issue,
“To expect us to find a Historic District map (which does not exist on the Village website) to determine where we can and cannot do things is utterly unrealistic. We are of action not legislative burdens.”
They also emphasized issues with consistency, saying, “Why have building owners been allowed to “repair” broken panes of glass with tape and cardboard? Why are downtown building owners allowed to leave visible garbage and junk stored on their vacant 2nd and 3rd floors?” They added, “We either want consistent enforcement or complete freedom. The planning board and code enforcement officials should not be allowed to cherry pick, out of their privilege and whim, when and when not to enforce their arbitrary rules and out-of-touch legislation.”
Notably, the pair took time to discuss ‘Ashlee’s Place’ which has a hand painted sign promoting their business in the back of what is an empty parking lot, saying, “Please leave Ms. Waldriff alone about her cute, very small, hand painted sign in the rear of her building. She is the longest standing, tax-paying business owner within downtown. It’s a fun little sign aligned with her brand and is not detracting from our historic assets. We are supposed to be free.”
Lastly, they detailed their hopes and dreams for the area, saying, “We want to feel fiercely present. To be filled with hope. To know the town is not in fact a relic of the past but rather a vibrant example of the here and of the now.”
Owner of the popular cocktail and coffee spot the ‘Shirt Factory’, Scott Robinson, who also acts as President of the ‘Medina Area Partnership’ gave his thoughts.
The ‘MAP’ is a conglomeration of Medina based businesses working in unison to promote revitalization and a vibrant local economy.
Robinson said, “I support creativity, art, and other efforts that genuinely seek to encourage people to visit and photograph our greater Medina community.”
He added his thoughts on current village processes which approve or deny signs and art, saying, “I also think it’s important to encourage revisions to existing policies, long and short-term planning objectives, and guidelines when they no longer fit our time.”
He expanded, “From what I understand, the village does not dissuade people from art in the historic district, they simply ask for a permit, which is consistent with other areas I’ve worked. That said, I’m also surprised a project we all saw on social media wasn’t notified of a violation earlier.”
Lastly, Robinson pushed for communication and cooperation between business owners and the village board, remarking,
“During these ongoing discussions, I would encourage the Village and Planning Boards to invite stakeholders in for a broader look at public art and murals. This exercise could take a look at where these projects and forms of imagination could benefit the area the most. There seem to be many locations along the back of buildings, the canal, and entrance points that could help create a whole new sense of community.”
NOTE: AT THIS TIME OVER 500 PEOPLE HAVE SIGNED THE CHANGE.ORG PETITION SET UP BY TIM AND TERESA. YOU CAN FIND THAT PETITION AND THE FULL LETTER FROM TIM AND TERESA BELOW:
A LINK TO THE ARTIST’S INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/murkedelic/?hl=en