Ace: I’m fascinated by that funky mosaic mural on Fifth Street. I heard an out-of-town artist organized the effort. Do you think anyone would mind if I replaced the missing “G” tile in the “EVERY THING? Every time I come out of the ABC store, I walk by it and think I’ve got half a mind to just go ahead and do that. Your thoughts?—Miss Ing G. Tyle
Miss Tyle: Ace wonders if there’s a connection between your frequent visits to the ABC store near the mosaic and the fact that you’ve only got “half a mind” (or less, as you imply). That said, Ace must admit that his stance on refacing public property is very similar to his stance on trimming your toenails in bed: If it feels rewarding and no one sees you do it, what’s the harm? And this sentiment is pretty much consistent with what Ace found out about the missing tile.
But before he called anyone, Ace wanted to see this alleged mural for himself. Sure enough, there in the middle of the glass menagerie were the words “EVERY THIN YOU NEED IN LIFE IS….” And just as Ace left out the “G,” so too does the wall. I agree with you, Miss Tyle. It’s more than a little bothersome.
First, he checked with Charlottesville’s public works department. The woman there was unable to definitively give permission, but she insinuated that no one would mind if you tried to replace the missing “G,” and then she kindly pointed Ace in the direction of Neighborhood Development Services.
Once he got past the confusion (“What? She wants to replace the missing tile?”), he was directed to Mary Joy Scala, Charlottesville’s preservation planner. A few days later, Mary called Ace back and left him a message informing him that the owner of Main Street Market, the building behind the mosaic (local developer Gabe Silverman), gave permission for it and he should probably be contacted, just to make sure. (For the record, Ace did try calling Silverman, but never heard back.) But, Mary also told Ace, “If they just wanna replace a tile or something, that’s fine. I don’t think anybody would have a problem with that.”
So, go ahead. Engage that right brain and replace the “G.” But don’t trim your toenails between the sheets. Ace rethought that one and, quite frankly, it’s just gross.
You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 18 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.