Franchot Park mural

A rendering of a proposed mural for the handball wall at Franchot Park designed by Vincent Alejandro. City officials hope to have the mural completed in conjunction with a spring cleanup at the park, set for Earth Day.

OLEAN — A mural and an Earth Day cleanup are in the works for Franchot Park.

Common Council President John Crawford, D-Ward 5, pushed earlier this week for a cleanup and repainting effort at Franchot, including a mural on the handball court wall and fresh paint on the various pavilions and structures in the Third Ward park. He said Jennifer Forney, R-Ward 3, worked on the planning effort as well.

On Wednesday, Crawford presented the plan to the rest of the council, topped by a mural by Vincent Alejandro.

Alejandro, a Buffalo native who lives in Cuba, has painted dozens of murals around Western New York, Crawford said, adding Jason Panus, R-Ward 2, recommended Alejandro for the effort. Crawford provided a rendering of the mural design to the Times Herald.

Noting as other groups have murals produced in the city, Crawford said a mural on the wall could “add some color, and maybe try to capture the character of Franchot Park.”

“I think it’s a pretty good idea — I love the mural,” Mayor Bill Aiello said. “It’s much-needed down there.”

In addition, volunteers are needed to help paint the various pavilions, dugouts, gazebos and wading pool support structures at the park.

Crawford said the mural will cost $1,500, and the paint and supplies to handle the structures will run around $2,000.

Trending Food Videos

“Hopefully, this is going to be a win-win for us without breaking the bank,” Crawford said.

The big need, he said, is for volunteers to come out and help.

“You never know if you’re going to end up with 20 or 30, or 50 people,” Crawford said, adding that if more volunteers show up than needed for the painting and cleanup, teams will be assembled to walk the main corridors in the city to pick up the rubbish which has accumulated over the winter.

Along with city volunteers, dozens more are set to assist from down the road. Twenty to 30 St. Bonaventure University students will pitch in, Crawford said, noting the university is hosting a day of service on Earth Day. The effort will be similar to a 2019 effort at Gargoyle Park when Bonaventure students and BonaResponds helped paint the main structure at that park.

A rain date of April 23 has been tentatively set.

After a question of the impact of a mural on the handball court interfering with the structure’s intended purpose, Crawford suggested beginning to publicize the event to get feedback from park users.

“Maybe we see if we get any concerned handballers — and then flip it around” to the other side of the wall, Crawford said, adding the mural would then be visible from the pavilions and ball fields.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at

City Editor

Bob Clark is the city editor of the Olean Times Herald, joining the staff in 2012.

Local & Social