WARREN - Call it David Grohl Alley remastered.
The downtown alley dedicated to the Foo Fighters frontman who was born in Warren is getting a makeover.
Warren artist John Mechling is painting new designs on the freshly blacktopped alley that runs parallel to the 100 block of Market Street. He estimated that he and Josh Datish, who has been assisting him, will have 40 to 50 hours invested in the project by the time it's completed this week.
Guitars, logos, band names and other things associated with musician Dave Grohl are being painted on the pavement of the Warren alley named after him. Photo by Andy Gray
Mechling is one of the local artists who created paintings on plywood canvases to hang in the alley when it was dedicated in 2009.
''The fact that they were willing to let artists come down and express their freedom and I'm a big music lover, so I wanted to come down and get involved,'' he said.
The alley pavement now is decorated with paintings of musical instruments, logos for the different bands Grohl has been associated with and other details to celebrate the career of the 13-time Grammy Award winner.
''I went to Dave's website to see the kind of art he likes,'' Mechling said. ''I'm trying to keep it rock 'n' roll-esque. I wanted to put something down that Dave would like.''
Mechling is working with 40 gallons of commercial-grade paint in multiple colors donated by Iowa-based paint manufacturer Diamond Vogel.
Pat Galgozy, executive director of Trumbull Art Gallery, said the plan is to do all of the work with money from donations and fundraisers. She said they won't be asking for any city funds for the project.
Repainting the alley surface is only the first step. Preliminary sketches call for installing the World's Largest Drumsticks, which were unveiled in July at the Warren Community Amphitheatre, at the west entrance of the alley next to Burger King on Main Avenue S.W. The drumsticks would be crossed, forming an arch over the alley, which would restrict access for larger vehicles. Trucks still could access the alley from the east end and from Thumm Alley, which runs alongside the downtown parking deck.
Galgozy said they are awaiting approval from all of the city departments that need to sign off on the plan, but so far there have been no objections.
The guardrail separating the alley from Burger King's property would be replaced by a metal sculpture of a musical staff and notes that will be created by Warren artist Aaron Chine, Galgozy said. Small stipends will be available for artists creating work to hang in the alley, and there are plans to install benches for visitors. A large banner at the east entrance of the alley will recreate part of the full-page ad Grohl placed in the Tribune Chronicle in July thanking everyone for the alley and the drumsticks.
Each phase will be completed as the money is raised.
Downtown residents and business owners Paul Clouser (National Fire and Water Repair) and Greg Bartholomew (All-American Cards & Comics and a Warren city councilman) through Main Street Warren have been leading the renovation effort with TAG.
''We're trying to get the alley back into shape,'' Clouser said. ''We see the traffic that goes through there. Every weekend there are people there taking wedding pictures, senior pictures. I've met people there visiting from Denmark, from Virginia. ... Our hopes are, once we get this thing under control, we can start moving out block by block and doing improvements through Main Street Warren.''
Joseph O'Grady, past president of Main Street Warren who came up with the idea for the alley honoring Grohl, said, ''Now it's really on the fast track. It's exciting. I'm really pumped about it.''
Clouser estimated the total cost of the alley efforts at $12,000.
A fundraiser is being planned in the alley Oct. 19. The event will feature live music and local artists, and River Rock at the Amp promoters Ken Haidaris and Marty Cohen have agreed to publicize the event in their advertising for Rocktoberfest, which is planned Oct. 20 at the Warren Community Amphitheatre.