Custom-made railing to grace David Grohl Alley

EAST PALESTINE – David Grohl Alley is getting some heavy metal.

The guardrail at the west end of the alley that separates it from Burger King’s parking lot will be replaced by a large-scale, custom-designed music staff adorned with a treble clef and music notes.

Joe O’Grady, who led the effort to rename the downtown Warren alley after the Foo Fighters frontman and Nirvana drummer who was born in Warren in 1969, has wanted to replace that guardrail for years. More recently, he envisioned something bigger, but for a project that depends on volunteers and donations, bigger seemed beyond the budget.

Then O’Grady’s girlfriend, Kerri Gruber, said she could make it happen with one phone call.

Gruber used to work for Kenny Greco, whose family owns Ken Greco Co. in Boardman and H.R. Evans Steel in East Palestine.

Not only did Greco donate all the steel needed for the project, he donated the labor and equipment needed to cut the metal pieces, and his company will deliver them to Warren.

Greco is a musician and a Grohl fan – “He’s the last man standing in rock ‘n’ roll,” Greco said – but an even bigger inspiration to get involved was the destruction caused by a vandal who spray-painted over much of the artwork in the alley on April 5. A warrant was issued April 11 for Kurtis Aguilera in connection with the criminal damaging. He remains at large.

“Not only will it come back, I want it to be better just as a big middle finger to who did it,” Greco said. ”There are so many ways to productively use your time, and you do this? OK, we’ll take what you’ve done and make it better.”

Wednesday morning, before getting to the paying jobs, Greco’s employees used a plasma table operated by a computer to cut the notes and treble clef from quarter-inch steel panels that each weighed about 500 pounds. Greco’s company will haul the cut pieces to Warren along with five 90-foot-long steel rods.

Warren artist and welder Aaron Chine will weld everything together to create the music staff, and O’Grady said he hopes to get volunteers from Trumbull Art Gallery to paint the metal sculpture.

The treble clef that will be welded to the staff is about 9 feet tall.

“I’m always thinking the bigger the better,” O’Grady said. “So here we are. It was just a dream but people like Kenny Greco and Kerri, they made it happen.”

The alley will host Fuzz Fest on May 31, featuring food, vendors and music by Wretch, Glitter Pig, Deadiron, Anchor the Moon, The 141s, Two Days Until Tomorrow, Bunderthird and Houston, We’re Going Down.

“I’d love to have it done by then,” O’Grady said. “I’d love to have everything completed by May 31.”