EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – The Juice Connection vape shop has brought a pop of color to Fifth Street in downtown East Liverpool. A mural was hand-painted on its storefront, but city officials aren’t happy with the artwork.
The city’s Design Review Board said the graffiti painting on the building has to go because it doesn’t fit in with city’s designated historical district.
Owner Brad Anderson said he has gotten positive feedback about the artwork and the cost of having to cover it is going to set back his opening date.
“People come by when I am sitting here and beep and scream, ‘Hey, I love it.’ A lot of people like it,” Anderson said. “I see lots of stores trying to open, little restaurants…you want something for people to walk around here in the neighborhood and have nice open stores.”
Mayor Ryan Stovall said he likes the painting, it just violates city rules.
“I like the brightness and the color. Personally, I think it’s eye-catching. I have no problem with it. There are some rules within every city, though, for the historic value of it,” Stovall said.
The board gave Anderson 60 days to repaint the mural, but Stovall says he can go to court to try to appeal the decision.
“I’d be willing to paint the pillars and the lower part back black if they would let me leave the big major parts,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he has a lot of community support; even his neighbors at New Castle School of Trades are backing him, posting to the business’ Facebook page and even creating a petition.
“People say it brings color to the town. This is crazy. They say they want to revitalize. A lot of people tell me to come to Calcutta – we have room for you here,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who lives in Pittsburgh, likes what East Liverpool has to offer and the revitalization efforts going on in the city. He hopes the board will work with him and if not, he will try to push for an appeal.