ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – “Just leave people’s stuff alone,” said Sara Caldwell, owner of Downtown Grind and Global Taco, after finding out fire hydrants that were painted in artistic designs were recently covered up.
18 News first covered this story when the Elmira Public Art Commission announced their ‘Adopt-a-Hydrant’ program.
The program was originally for artists to showcase their talents to attract tourists and encourage pride in the city.
“I was really surprised to hear that someone would paint over some beautiful art when they were originally being created, I understand that there were some safety concerns and whether our firefighters could find them easily in an emergency, but because after I saw them, I saw how bright they were and colorful and I thought that our firefighters could probably manage. That’s kind of a big surprise to me that someone would take the time to repaint a fire hydrant, but I guess they have a lot of time on their hands,” said Caldwell.
“We are a community of really talented people. That’s a real big bummer that somebody would cover up some art that someone lovingly created,” said Caldwell.
We reached out to Martin Chalk, President of the Elmira Water Board, who said the only people who have the authority to paint over the hydrants is the Elmira Water Board.
“A couple of the hydrants were painted over with yellow paint and it was not a direction that was given by myself or a general manager. We were in the process of painting some of the hydrants that need updating and unfortunately there was miscommunication and two of the hydrants were painted over,” said Martin Chalk, President of the Elmira Water Board.
18 News will have more on this story as it develops.