“This initiative was obviously passionately started,” said Tim Hungerford, head of Form Foundation. A group dedicated to advancing aspects of modernization while stimulating economic viability in the Medina area. Hungerford expanded, “A great deal needs to be cleaned up in this town, and it’s something that we know a lot about.”
One way the Form Foundation aims in achieving this goal is through the expansion of publicly accessible modern art. He proposed that this goes beyond just art, stating, “There is economic, social, cultural, and infrastructure benefits to all of this.” Ultimately, Hungerford placed his stance as one to repair the “banal and blighted” aspects of Medina.
While the Planning Board was receptive, the question of how this affects the Historic District was initially placed into question.
It is important to note, as the Form Foundation Owner’s did, the ‘Canalligator’ rests in a relatively quiet (until recently) alleyway shooting off from Main Street. Additionally, the ‘Canalligator’ is not painted on any of Medina’s historic sandstone, but a more recently built cinderblock wall behind the main structure. That painting is in no way visible from Main Street. The credibility of whether that cinderblock wall in the back alley even counts as part of the Historic District was placed into question.
Planning Board Vice Chairman John Dieter spoke sympathetically but provided no immediate answer. He remarked, “I appreciate exactly almost everything you said here,” Although, he added, “Our role is to simply review the existing zoning regulation as it reflects to the Historic District. Hopefully, something like this will help to push change within the zoning regulations to allow the freedom of what you’re talking about.”
Subsequently, Dieter floated the idea of an art’s and culture board to oversee directly on these decisions, even suggesting Hungerford be a member.
Larissa Degraw, a Planning Board Alternate and local business owner, gave a dissenting opinion to the one provided by Dieter. She noted, “To say we need artists to tell us what can go up. We’re not talking about the content of the art. We are talking about the historic features and where the art can go. I feel like we can do that today.”
Planning Board Member Mary Lewis expressed concerns over traffic, stating, “Because of the layout of that back parking lot, and to get access to those areas can be tricky at times on a normal basis, I just feel it is a topic to be discussed with other business owners.”
Both Hungerford and Misiti explained that the traffic was largely by foot. Additionally, they had written letters from every neighboring business owner supporting their mural.
While the initial application for this process was accepted at this meeting, the approval or disapproval is set for a special meeting of the board open to the public. The future of another two murals set for display in Medina will more than likely be addressed as well. The meeting’s date and time will be published once officially set by the Village and Planning Board Members. The public will be urged to author letters outlying support or concern for these projects instead of attending in person due to COVID-19.