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Banner week for downtown Wellsburg

SPRUCING UP THE SQUARE — With the help of his father, Ernie, left, Eric Fithyan hung one of 22 banners along the Wellsburg Town Square and Charles Street last week. The brainchild of Fithyan, the banners have been sponsored by many businesses and groups and will change a few times a year. (Photo by Warren Scott)

WELLSBURG — Many local businesses and groups have come together to provide some additional color to the city’s downtown business district.

Local business owner Eric Fithyan said he wanted to draw a little more attention to the area so he proposed posting banners with various themes along the Town Square and Charles Street and received the blessing of Wellsburg Council.

While committing his own business, Chambers and James Funeral Homes, as a sponsor, he also sought sponsorships for up to 22 banners from other businesses and groups. Unsure of the response he would receive, Fithyan was pleasantly surprised when all of the flags were sponsored within a week of his solicitation for them.

Earlier this week he hung the banners with the help of his father, Ernie; staff member Ellen Daugherty; and Rick Soly, a resident who happened to be passing by and offered his assistance.

Each bears the message, “Giving Thanks for the Community,” colorful autumn leaves and the sponsor’s name.

Fithyan said they will be replaced in the future with banners reading “Spring into a Blooming Community,” for the spring; “Our Community is Heating Up,” for the summer; and “Thank You for Your Service,” which is directed at veterans, first responders and others who serve the community and may be posted around Veterans Day.

There also are plans for a winter or holiday-themed banner.

Fithyan said the banners are very sturdy and he hopes they can fly for at least two years, after which the sponsors may support their replacements if needed. If not, then sponsorships will be sought from others, he said.

Fithyan said each $225 sponsorship provided for a banner and bracket used to hang them from the light posts along the city’s scenic square and Charles Street.

Main Street Bank and State Farm Insurance Agent Bill Garvey were the biggest supporters for the project, each sponsoring five banners.

At this time Lester Bradley was the only one to sponsor a banner in memory of a loved one — his late mother, Betty Lou — as well as banners bearing the names of his businesses.

Fithyan noted the light posts, trees and brick walks of the downtown business district are appreciated by many visitors during the Wellsburg Applefest, the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas parade and other special occasions.

But he said he wanted to bring more attention to it at other times of the year.

“The aim was to bring attention to our business community as well as make sure our community looks good,” Fithyan said.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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