PITTSTON — Sometimes, they are an eyesore. Other times, we take them for granted. In the blink of an eye, though, a fire hydrant can save your life.
There are approximately 100 fire hydrants in the City of Pittston. With approval from the city and the Pennsylvania American Water Company, many of those hydrants will soon be blasted with a fresh coat of paint.
Enter Arts on Fire: Pittston City — an effort to raise money to paint hydrants in Pittston City with designs and themes. Currently, 15 hydrants from Kennedy Boulevard to Sullivan Park and the Pittston City Little League field have been selected. The first hydrant to be painted sits directly outside the Pittston City Fire Department.
As of Friday, Sept. 25, three hydrants have been primed, including the one at the fire department. One is near the Columbus Statue on South Main Street and the other is just outside of RiteAid on North Main Street.
During a recent trip to Philadelphia, Brian Matyjevich, a city projects volunteer, noticed hydrants in that city had been painted. That’s when the wheels began to turn. He spoke with Main Street Manager Rose Randazzo and city officials and, in the next couple weeks, several fire hydrants throughout Pittston City will be transformed into works of art.
“As far as I know, the most successful program like this was in Harrisburg about 10 years ago,” he said. “They did 51 hydrants. The quality wasn’t as great as ours can be. We’re the new art town so we will commission artists to do them.”
Kristen Rinaldi, a key contributor to Michael Pilato’s Inspiration Mural on Main Street, will be the first artist to put her paintbrush to a hydrant. Rinaldi is expected to begin the process soon, weather permitting.
“I pretty much bet we’ll bang out three of them in the next two or three weeks, even if we have to front the money,” Matyjevich said. “Winter is upon us.”
According to Matyjevich, supplies for each hydrant will cost about $20. Each hydrant will be painted by a commissioned artist with an expected cost of around $150. A GoFundMe page has been created to help offset the project’s costs.
When all is said and done, Matyjevich expects to have the majority of hydrants in Pittston City painted.
“What’s great about this project is the hydrants are throughout the entire city,” Matyjevich said. “We can start getting the artwork and start reaching the neighborhoods.”
Themes will play a major role in what each hydrant represents. For example, hydrants around the Pittston City Little League field may have a baseball theme.
“We’re working on some common themes like the Tomato Festival, St. Patrick’s Parade and Irish Festival,” he said. “The ones closer to the homes, we’ll do a theme of that area.”
Matyjevich urges local businesses and organizations to participate in the cause. With a donation, an organization can buy a hydrant painting. Paint Pittston Pink has already commissioned a hydrant, Matyjevich said.
Anyone interested may contact Matyjevich on the Pittston City Pictures Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick