ELYRIA — Symbols of the city’s bicentennial will live on for generations.
Saturday afternoon, with the weekly Invest Elyria farmers market in full swing in the background, Mayor Holly Brinda and others formally dedicated Pioneer Plaza with a ribbon cutting.
Afterward, the city’s bicentennial mural, designed by artist Dave Pavlak and located on the side of the Suzin L. Chocolatier building, received the same treatment.
To commemorate its 200th birthday this year, the city has had numerous activities — from a Bicentennial Parade to a Bicentennial Ball and a beard-growing contest — but Brinda said the plaza and murals are more about the legacy being left for future Elyrians and their families.
“I would venture to say there is no space anywhere in the world that looks like this,” she said. “… This space, I hope, will continue to be very important to the city of Elyria.”
Pioneer Plaza, on the 300 block of Broad Street, is where the old Elyria City Hall once was. When the building came down because it was in such disrepair, a plan was formed to turn the plot into useable green space. Grant dollars secured from the state allowed the city to beautify the area and purchase a nearby building to give the Elyria Arts Council a permanent home.
The improvements will continue with the construction of a permanent building that will replace the tent area used for the market. The building will have garage door-style windows to allow the space to be used almost year-round.
“Last year, this space lacked personality,” said Mary Bryan, Invest Elyria executive director. “Now, you can spend an hour just in this space enjoying what it has to offer. It really does make a difference downtown.”
The city’s three murals — two flanking the plaza and one a block away — add an artistic element that pays homage to Elyria’s growing arts culture.
Pavlak said several artists helped with the project.
“We enjoyed every minute of it, and every day we see people stopping by and taking pictures. So we know others enjoy it, too.”
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