WALTERS, OK (KSWO) -A Walters business owner is hoping a new mural will serve as a way to memorialize area teenagers who have passed away.
The idea started in January after teenagers vandalized the town's water tower in memory of 15-year-old Gage Fisher who died in a boating accident May 2015.
The City Council met last week and decided it was okay for artwork to be painted on the wall. The wall can be easily seen from the road because it is located on Broadway Street, which is the main street in Walters.
The idea came from a woman whose daughter is still grieving over Gage's death, and she talked to the business owner, Deborah Connely, about the possibility of turning the outside wall into a kind of memorial. Connely agreed since the building is a Walters landmark, and would a perfect site for such a tribute.
"I believe if I remember right it was built in 1910, 1912, so it's pretty old. The wall has been there a long time and it's missing a few bricks. It shows a little wear and tear, but I am sure they could tell some real good stories,"Connely said.
Connely says she sees allowing students and artists to paint on the wall as a simple little way to say thank you.
"I'm pretty excited they are using my wall to do this, and it's something. There is an empty lot so everyone can see that. I like to give back to the community. I like to do things for the community, so I am pretty excited they chose my wall to use," Connely said.
Connely says they are still talking to two artists and deciding which one will paint the main mural.
"One was a former teacher here years and years ago, and he has done a couple of murals here in town that are really nice. And the other artist is someone who grew up here, so it's the hometown stuff coming back to do something that's real special," Connely said.
Connely says a few years ago, one of the local churches asked if they could paint a white square to project movies on.
"I think it started out as football guys were going to watch movies and then it became a time where the community could come out and watch movies. They have popcorn and snacks sometimes when the weather is nice and it has kind of developed from that. It kind of became a family movie time," Connely said.
The memorial will be painted around the white box so it can still be a place for the community to gather.
Connely says there will be space around the outside of the mural for local teens to leave behind feelings and emotions through artwork of their own.
"I think the kids are going to be real excited because I know I have talked to a few and they just seem really excited that the city is allowing them to do that. So I think it will become something really important to them and I hope the kids will use it as a place to put their thoughts in appropriate manners. So they can feel like part of the city," Connely said.
Once they decide on an artist, they expect the wall to be completed within a couple of months.