Sixteen murals are stacked on one another in the Parks and Rec Maintenance Yard after being removed from the former Olde Town Grocer in Old Sandwich Town on Dec. 5, 2018.
Dax Melmer / Windsor Star
Paterson Park has emerged as the public’s preferred new location for Sandwich Town’s Black history murals.The 16 murals depicting the likenesses of Henry Bibb, Alton Parker, Mary Shadd and others, have been stored by the city’s Parks Department since early December, following their removal from the exterior wall of a closed grocery store on Sandwich Street.Several citizens removed the murals over concern about the future of the former Westside Foods site following the sale of the building.Since that time, city officials conducted an online survey and held two public consultations on a future location for the murals.The results of those efforts were part of a report by Cathy Masterson, the city’s manager of cultural affairs.The report outlined three options for consideration by the Community Services and Parks Standing Committee at a March 6 meeting.What’s unique about the park is that there’s been significant infrastructure investments there in the last five or six years to make it walkable and accessible.Community response pegged Paterson Park as the favoured option.The majority of those who responded to the survey or at the open houses wanted the murals kept in Sandwich Town, preferably together as one long wall and available for public viewing.“Paterson Park is one of the main parks coming right into the community so it’s a good anchor,” Masterson said.The report also lists two other options for the committee’s consideration.The second option is adjacent to the new bike path on Russell Street between McKee Park and Mill Street Park and the third option is an exterior wall of the Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex.Fabio Costante, a city councillor who represents the area as part of Ward 2, said both the local BIA and a special committee of concerned citizens support the move to Paterson Park.“There’s obviously a push to have them at Paterson Park,” Costante said. “What’s unique about the park is that there’s been significant infrastructure investments there in the last five or six years to make it walkable and accessible.”
The side of the former Olde Town Grocer where sixteen murals were displayed is pictured on Dec. 5, 2018.
Dax Melmer /
Having them there would be “a cool introduction into Sandwich if you’re coming from the east side,“ he said.Costante agrees with the sentiment that the murals belong in Sandwich Town, which takes Adie Knox out of the running and he doesn’t believe there’s enough of a public profile on Russell Street.“I think they should be featured prominently in Sandwich Town,” he said.The cost for installation at Paterson Park or Russell Street is the same. It would cost just under $54,000 if the project includes lighting or just under $45,000 without lighting.Related The murals would be mounted at least two feet off the ground and require concrete footings. The report warns of the possibility of significant additional costs if a dig for the pilings turns up historical artifacts.The cost of mounting the murals on an Adie Knox wall is estimated at $16,790.“I certainly will provide ward funds toward this,” Costante said. ”I think it’s an important heritage piece, an important cultural piece.”The report advises holding a community consultation with property owners whose houses back on to Paterson Park because the murals could impede their view.Eventually, a decision on the murals will fall to city firstname.lastname@example.org/winstarcaton