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Fairmont State professor Joel Dugan proposes some ideas for the Palatine Park wall, which he hopes to beautify with a mural created by students and community members.

FAIRMONT – A much talked about wall at Palatine Park is going to get a few splashes of color.

Joel Dugan, a professor of art at Fairmont State University, said he has high hopes for the stone brick wall stationed outside Palatine Park. His plans call for having students and community members join in to paint a mural on the structure as a service to the community.

“My total project cost at this point is $8,398, which if you do the square footage, you’re coming in just a little bit above $5 per square foot,” Dugan said Tuesday night while presenting a petition to Fairmont City Council. “I think we’re doing a pretty good service.”

Dugan’s presentation was met with approval from most of the council members, who sought a fix for the wall other than demolishing it entirely. In addition to beautifying the structure, Dugan said the process of painting the mural would be a positive to anyone who helps with it, because it would be a project they helped create.

“I had the opportunity this last weekend to paint some of those crosswalks with Fairmont Main Street,” Dugan said. “I had my children with me and I had students with me from the department, and I can’t say enough about what it meant when people stopped, got out of their vehicle and came up and said ‘Thank you so much for contributing in some way to beautify the city.’”

Another Fairmont citizen, Romelia Hodges, petitioned the council advocating a resolution be approved to name a city bridge after Rose Cousins, who was a Fairmont native who flew as a pilot with dreams of flying in the military.

“This woman was a citizen of Fairmont who did phenomenal things in the ‘20s and ‘30s as she was growing up, more so in the ‘30s and ‘40s,” Hodges said. “She was an air pilot, and she overcame some insurmountable obstacles in order to become the woman that she was.”

Hodges said Cousins never really got her due diligence, and never got to become an official military pilot, which is why Hodges believes she deserves a spot as the namesake of a Fairmont monument.

“She was an African American woman, and since I was three years old, I could remember my mother telling me stories about the wonderful things and accomplishments she had done,” Hodges said. “She went to Tuskegee with 10 gentlemen from the West Virginia State University. They took all nine of the men and did not take Ms. Cousins.”

Also at the meeting, Brett White and Chris Yost of the United Way of Marion and Taylor Counties presented information about the organization’s 2-1-1 program, which is meant to help those in need of resources such as food and shelter.

“Our goal is to speak with them as long as we need until we solve the problem,” Yost said in his presentation to council. “I can help these people – I want to help these people – that is what 2-1-1 is for.”

In addition to Yost’s presentation, White also spoke about this year’s United Way Campaign, and said that he is hopeful to get the city’s support on the initiative.

In new business, the council passed ordinances relating to holding a public auction of surplus personal property, base pay of certain class pay of city employees and the re-appointment of two individuals to the Fairmont Parking Authority.

Also at the meeting, Fairmont City Manager Valerie Means announced the city’s hiring of Mark Miller to the office of director of planning and development.

“He is a Fairmont native and he worked for the city before in the position of City Planner,” Means said. “We’re really happy to have him back to Fairmont, and I’m looking forward in areas of planning and economic development.”

She also announced the city’s Trick or Treat time, being from 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31. Means also said the city is considering hosting another fall clean up for the disposal of household waste and bulky items to take place the week of Oct. 7-Oct. 11.

Email Eddie Trizzino at etrizzino@timeswv.com and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

News Reporter

Eddie Trizzino has been a reporter with the Times West Virginian since August of 2017, covering the entertainment, business and health beats. He spends most of his time listening to records, going to the movies and strolling through the town.

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