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Former president remembers effort to save Arcade

Opinion: Letters to the editor

December 1st, 2020 12:27 PM

Mural panels that once adorned the boarded up windows of the Arcade Building in 2009 still serve as a reminder of the work done to save the historic building. (PROVIDED)

I read with sadness your Nov. 24 article concerning the passing of Joe Zappani ("Giuseppe Zappani, who saved Arcade Building, dies at 65"). I spent a fair amount of time with Joe both during his purchase of the Arcade Building and afterward. He truly was a testament to the spirit of Riverside, as well as the savior of one of Riverside's most famous landmarks.

Before Joe came on the scene, I helped lead the town's efforts to save the Arcade Building. You might recall the theme the town used: This Place Matters/Riverside & Its Landmark Arcade Building. 

The focus of our early efforts to draw attention to the building was the board-up mural which covered the windows of the Arcade Building. We coordinated the efforts of the teachers and students of RB High School, District 96 and St Mary's School. 

We recruited the help of Riverside retailers and other friends of Riverside. It all culminated in the unveiling of the mural at the December 2009 Riverside Holiday Stroll. The Arcade Building looked magnificent. I do remember how cold it was that night.

As the rehabilitation of the Arcade Building started to take shape after Joe's purchase, we offered for sale the 4-by-8-foot mural panels. My three children purchased four of the mural panels for me as a tribute for all my work to save the Arcade Building. 

I put up the four panels along the fence at the rear of my yard. They are still there. In all their glory, 11 years later. I see them every day … and think of all that we accomplished.

Mike Gorman

Riverside

Ed. note: Mike Gorman was Riverside village president from 2009-13.

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