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Columbiana pocket park nearly funded

COLUMBIANA — Only about $15,000 is needed to fund the remainder of the Main Street Common project, also known as the pocket park on South Main Street.

Pat Tingle, of the Columbiana Restoration and Beautification Committee (R&B), said a $15,000 sponsorship recently came in for the project, eliminating half of the roughly $30,000 that was left to fund.

The project has been in the works the last two years and is spear-headed by the committee, with the blessing of city council.

The park in the lot next to the former Ryan’s News building was designed by Herbert, Rowland and Grubic Inc. and put out to bid for construction last year.

The 103-by-30-foot lot already features new landscaping and a sign designating the area as the Main Street Common. Other plans include an arched entranceway off South Main Street and iron fencing, seating, and decorative lighting.

Tingle said the plans also include a Vivian Mahon Memorial Plaza which will be located in the brick center of the Common. Mahon owned Vivian’s Antiques, which was located at 20 and 24 S. Main St., until she retired last year.

Shortly after, she passed away at the age of 90.

Tingle said sponsorship donations can be designated for a memorial plaque to dedicate that area to Mahon, who was known as “the local icon of Main Street.”

The committee is looking for sponsorships to fund the memorial plaque, the metal arch gateway, fencing at the entrance, shorter fencing in other areas, decorative lighting, landscaping, and ornamental grasses at the entrance, planting containers, and one metal bench.

Tingle said that previous fundraising amounting to $42,000 enabled the committee to complete the hardscape, plant grass, trees and bushes.

The Columbiana Community Foundation contributed $10,000, and two anonymous donors added $15,000 each to the initial phase of the project. The committee also received donations from local businesses, citizens and organizations while the city donated water, street and electric department services for the Common, she said.

The Common will also feature a large historic mural on the north building wall that is estimated to cost $40,000 and has already been funded by the Blakeman family.

Tingle said plans call for the mural to be completed by the annual Street Fair. The overall project should be finished this summer.

She also said the committee has help from professional horticulturist Keith Kaiser, who plans to add additional landscaping. Kaiser served as a longtime horticulture director for the Mill Creek MetroParks before taking a job as president of the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden.

Those wanting to sponsor the project can do so by mailing donations to the R&B at P.O. Box 53 Columbiana, Ohio, 44408. Donations are tax-deductible as the R&B is a 501c3 organization comprised of local residents who volunteer their time.

Questions can be directed to Tingle at 330-482-9166.

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