January 20, 2022

Hotel owner to fix street painting

Todd R. McAdam/managing editor

A trash truck on Central Avenue in Cortland prepares to cross a shamrock painted onto the street on Tuesday. The city is investigating to see who painted it, given a moratorium on street paintings following disagreement last year over a Black Lives Matter painting on Main Street and plans for Back the Blue painting on Court Street.

The owner of the St. Charles Hotel in Cortland said Thursday he will work to fix the problem of a painted shamrock filling the lane of a city street in front of the bar.

Tom Brown said he had seen the painting and believed it to be painted by an employee of the bar, although he couldn’t confirm that.

Brown said he was unaware of city policy created last summer banning the painting of streets.

“We’ll do our best to make sure nobody does it any more,” he said.

The city’s policy was enacted in the fall following differing city decisions on murals on two city streets.

Last summer, a Black Lives Matter mural was painted at Main and Court streets. Following that, a Back the Blue mural was proposed on Court Street in front of the Cortland Police Department and initially accepted before the Common Council voted against any street paintings until April 2021. The city also planned to remove the Black Lives Matter mural.

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, Alderwoman Kathryn Silliman (D-2nd Ward) said she was “disappointed that the St. Charles Hotel went ahead and painted a shamrock in front of their establishment,” despite the city’s ruling.

She said she was notified by constituents about the painting on Central Avenue.

Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said Wednesday he was unaware of the shamrock before Tuesday’s meeting but was working on the assumption that the painting wasn’t done out of malice, rather to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

He said the city would investigate and that he would look to work with the individuals involved to get into compliance.

Brown said the painting will fade fairly quickly, negating the need to remove the painting.

Brown is also the Democratic commissioner at the Cortland County Board of Elections.