A Neighborhood Cornerstone Comes Back to Life
Everything ages, some things better than others. Eventually the time comes when we need to restore the fading jewels surrounding us and preserve them for future generations. Lauren Miller decided that now was the time to bring old school elegance back to a Rocky River corner.
The stone wing walls at the intersection of Detroit Road and Erie Road were built between 1909 and 1919. Years of vehicle exhaust had blackened the sandstone, while ivy broke down the mortar.
Lauren brought the project to the Rocky River Beautification Committee and had its full support. When an anonymous donor offered a challenge grant to double match donations, the project really took off. Rocky River residents, especially those in the adjacent Beach Cliff II area, responded generously.
After an arduous search, Emilio Dibra and United Masonry were chosen to undertake the cleaning and tuck pointing in July. The cleaning was done with an eye toward the environment, using a non-acidic cleaner that was 99.4% biodegradable. Visually, the goal was to bring out the sandstone’s inherent beauty and preserve 100 years of character. In addition, much attention was paid to the mortar selection so that it blended naturally with the sandstone. The result was nothing short of amazing.
The next step was complementing the walls with understated landscaping. Gorski Landscaping had cleaned and prepped the beds pre-restoration. Once all the trampling feet and scaffolding were removed – and our hot, hot August and September weather moved on – they installed bushes to complement the trees and to provide a foundation for perennial installations next spring.
With the work completed, it was time to celebrate. Project donors, Mayor Bobst, and Beautification Committee members came together in October to celebrate the restoration. Lauren and her subcommittee team members Michael Marsilio and Nancy Sharbaugh were congratulated on a successful project; their vision and commitment were evident throughout the process.
But the true celebration was about the donors, residents that wanted to make an impact and improve a corner that they pass each day. The Beautification Committee was proud to take on the project, and so thankful for the community support. That material support provided necessary funding, but more importantly it supplied extra motivation, knowing that the restoration was valuable to residents.
In addition to individual donors and the challenge grant donor, sales from Light Up River funded this project. The Beautification Committee will be selling luminarias again this holiday season, with hopes of lighting up as many Rocky River streets as possible. New members are always welcome! If you are interested in learning more about the Beautification Committee, go to www.rrcity.com/beautification-committee/ .
Liz Harmath is the Chair of the Rocky River Beautification Committee.