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    Posted November 10, 2012 by
    Manitowoc, Wisconsin
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    Iconic Wisconsin mural threatened


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     tprigge photographed the iconic Anheuser Busch bottles mural in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, which she says was threaten to be taken down by local city officials on November 12. She says when she first heard of the city's plan, she was distressed by the news. She says the mural is an iconic landmark and has been a part of her community for five decades. She asked her seven-year-old son what he thought about the mural and he said 'Seeing the beer bottles means I am home,' she explained. 'It's a real touchstone. Clearly, it was for my dad decades ago, and still remains so even for the up-coming-generation,' she said.

    She says many people within the Manitowoc community came out to support the preservation of the mural. Manitowoc's Mayor, Justin M. Nickels, and representatives of Riverland Ag decided on November 12 to preserve the mural instead of taking down, according to a press release from the mayor's office. Mayor Nickels explained in the press release that he received more than 1000 emails from community members asking for the preservation of the mural. 'The citizens have spoken; however we all need to realize that in order to preserve this historic mural it will require maintenance, which comes at a cost,' he responded.

    When iReporter tprigge heard about the decision by the city to preserve the mural, she says she was thrilled. 'Art actually won,' she said. 'It's so cool. It is a vintage pop art icon. If Andy Warhol was here, I am sure he would have been at our rally.'
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    Community members are rallying to preserve a vintage hand-painted pop art advertising mural of a Budweiser bottle and two cans painted on grain silos at the end of Washington Street in downtown Manitowoc, WI that have stood as an iconic landmark for 60+ years. In a Fox news report on Thursday, John Salzman, age 68, of Manitowoc was quoted as remarking that when he was in the service, he always knew he was home again when he laid eyes on the Bud bottle and cans.
    The mural is fast-tracked to be obliviated by sandblasting on Monday. Community members, artists and expats are mourning and protesting this expedited decision which only came to light this week. The compelling reason to destroy this historic landmark? None. The city planner decided to invoke an archaic city ordinance pertaining to 'signs' and pursued enforcement applied to the iconic piece of vintage roadside Americana. Sadly, the current mayor of Manitowoc has no interest in advocating on behalf of the community in such a situation. Community members are planning a vigil to rally support tomorrow night, Sunday, Nov. 11 at 7pm CST to continue raising awareness of this historic landmark in imminent peril. The vigil will have to be candle-lit as for the first time in recent memory the end of Washington Street has gone dark. With the preparations afoot for the sandblasting, the lights, which until have illuminated the landmark, have gone dark.
    National award-winning artist Jason Prigge spent the day Saturday painting a plein air portrayal of the iconic view to garner additional notice. A groundswell of support for preserving the mural manifested in the folks who stopped to photograph the piece, chat about the landmark and honk with thumbs up while driving past. An online petition is also being circulated. It is critical that this issue receive attention immediately, however, due to the imminent doom. Hopefully government at its worst will not prevail.
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