Gone with the graffiti

Eagle Scout project to paint pedestrian tunnel, maintain upkeep

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 21, 2015


UTICA — On July 15, the Utica City Council unanimously approved an Eagle Scout project to paint the walls of the pedestrian tunnel in downtown Utica beneath M-59, which has accumulated years’ worth of graffiti and street art.

Daniel Pisarski, 17, of Sterling Heights, said one of the fathers in his Shelby Township-based Troop 90 pitched the idea for him to beautify the tunnel for his Eagle Scout project.

“Because of the graffiti on the walls, it’s an eyesore and may discourage some people from using the tunnel, (especially at night, as they might not feel safe in an area with all that graffiti),” Pisarski said. “Many people use this tunnel daily to get from residential areas on one side to the downtown on the other side.”

He said he planned to fundraise and ask local home improvement stores for donations or discounts on the needed supplies, as well as petition them to commit to a semi-annual or annual effort to maintain the upkeep of the tunnel walls.

“I plan to paint the walls of the tunnel to cover up the graffiti, and then, once the walls are painted, I’d like to paint a piece of artwork or the Utica city logo to make the walls look better,” Pisarski said.

Matthew Zelasko-Barrett, a unit service executive with the Great Lakes Field Service Council of the Boy Scouts of America and Pisarski’s Eagle Scout project supervisor, said he was impressed with Pisarski since day one.

“When I talked to Daniel, we felt it was extremely important that this project be preserved for the city, for the residents, for the businesses here, as well as for Daniel, himself,” Zelasko-Barrett said. “He’s got 34 merit badges, one of which is painting, which will definitely come in handy for this.”

Pisarski said there are no hourly requirements for an Eagle Scout project, as long as it demonstrates leadership and planning and benefits the community.

“I’ve always looked up to Eagle Scouts, and, finally, achieving the highest level in scouts after spending so many years pursuing would be a big goal in my life,” Pisarski said. He began Cub Scouts when he was in first grade.

Councilwoman Faith Terenzi thanked Pisarski and added that her husband was the one who had to spray paint over lewd messages and depictions before one of the city’s festivals.

“We admire and appreciate your interest in the city,” Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan said. “We’re honored by your request, and we’re happy to help you in any way we can.”