Bird Murals to Beautify Island Bridge

Wheeling Island Community Association members are looking forward to a bridge pier painting project aimed at beautifying their neighborhood and preventing graffiti.

Stephanie Hall, interim president, said the association has approved four different sketches created by West Liberty University art students under the guidance of professor Robert Villamagna. Four different Interstate 70 piers on South York Street will be painted with sketches depicting owls, a cardinal and a hummingbird.

Hall estimates the project will begin in the fall when students are back to school. City workers are expected to powerwash the piers in preparation for painting. The association will cover the cost of the paint, and members also will apply the base coat. The pier painting project still must be approved by the West Virginia Division of Highways, but a similar project was authorized and conducted last year by Villamagna, his students and other volunteers. Those I-70 piers are located on Main Street in the downtown.

”We chose those piers because of their visibility and there is a lot of graffiti,” Hall said. ”We want to keep doing it for beautification and to prevent graffiti.”

Hall noted the Island has successfully combated graffiti in the past by simply painting over it with a solid colored paint. A final clear top coat will protect the murals.

If someone did decide to paint over the artwork, it could be washed off because of the top coat, which costs about $50 per gallon.

Councilman Ken Imer said he was impressed with the sketches. He noted as soon as the project is approved by the DOH, the work can begin.

”I really like them,” Imer said of the planned murals.

Meanwhile, Hall said the association is looking for more people for another Island endeavor, a farmers’ market. One already has taken place but more vendors are needed. They are being held 4-7 p.m. every Thursday on the front lawn of the House of the Carpenter. To sign up, call Jennifer Imer at 304-231-4692 or email her at