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Hamburg business vs business, mural vs. fence

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) - A mural is sparking controversy in the Village of Hamburg:  Owners of the new business that put up the artwork say they were looking to brighten up the village, but a long-time neighboring business is now working to block the view.

Alchemy Wine and Beer hasn't even opened yet, officially, but co-owners Nicole Casell and Anne McIntosh said they wanted to bring some color to the bustling villege center.

McIntosh said they paid artist Chuck Tingley $5,000 to paint this mural, not to promote the business, but rather, it is art for art's sake.

"For public art, for the village, for the community, for the residents. Nowhere on the building, or on the mural, does it say anything about our business name. We strictly did it just to help beautify the community."

But they only have a few more days to enjoy the view, now that a new 6-foot high fence is going up within a few feet of the mural, along the border of a parking lot.

Casell said they are getting sympathy from neighbors and art lovers, but she is saddened at the thought of what the fence will do, "It will cover a piece of art that took the artist 3 weeks to complete, so that alone is heartbreaking."

Alchemy's owners said, the neighboring business, John and Mary's, is putting up the fence to protect customers and non-customers from accidental mishaps along a retaining wall.

Casell said they understand the business decision behind putting up the fence, "To ensure that they do not fall off the retainer wall, or are walking from her lot into other areas."

But Casell and McIntosh even offered to pay for something less obtrusive, out of their own pockets.

"Offered to pay for other options," McIntosh said, "such as shubbery, a chainlink fence, a cable wire fence--anything other than a 6-foot tall wood blockade."

News 4 reached out to the owner of John and Mary's, at the shop and by phone, to get her take on the fence issue, but workers at the restaurant said she has nothing to say. The wooden stockade fence is supposed to go up Monday.


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