By Megan Kelley
Over the past several months, downtown Lake Orion window art has been all the rage with Lake Orion resident Tonja Gojcaj providing the service to multiple downtown shops.
Gojcaj has added flowers, fall leaves, American flags and other seasonal and holiday-themed window art, giving the downtown a pop of color and creating some excitement for downtown visitors.
Heading into fall, the DDA board wants to continue to encourage the practice, voting 6-2 to approve the window art work plan. Boardmember and township Supervisor Chris Barnett and boardmember Kristin Horvath cast the two nay votes.
The work plan will consist of a drawing of sorts, with the DDA randomly selecting five businesses that will then receive free themed window art.
The cost would be covered by the DDA. Total financial impact of this work plan was voted not to exceed $2,520.
This process is expected to be repeated throughout the year with themes either being season-based or event-based.
Downtown businesses can enter their business to win free window art from a Google Forms Survey that is expected to be emailed to all DDA business partners.
Businesses that are not chosen are offered an opportunity to work with Gojcaj to obtain window art of their own that is also on theme.
Additionally, Gojcaj has also offered to create a permanent mural on the southside wall of the building that houses the Nuts About Chocolate shop for $300. However, this is pending property owner approval, planning commission approval, DDA Board approval and a bid process award.
Barnett said that he liked the idea but was concerned about the precedent it would set, calling it a “slippery slope.”
“If we allow it and we’re paying to put it on, what’s going to stop people from putting stuff all over their windows?” Barnett asked. “I support this, I think it’s a cool idea but I’m concerned about two years, three years from now, the DDA doesn’t fund this but now all of a sudden everybody thinks that all their windows are considered signage and they can put anything they want, including L.E.D. lights and it becomes more of a party store feel.”
Barnett also said he hoped the planning commission or village council could look at the ordinance to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“You can imagine, every single building would want to paint all their windows everything and it takes away from that nice feel of the downtown to more of a super commercialized hot mess, for lack of a better term,” Barnett said.
DDA Executive Director Molly Lalone assured the board that the window art would be just that – art and that she believes, if at some point there was an issue with what businesses had painted on their windows, the village council and planning commission would handle it.
Village Council President Ken Van Portfliet interjected to “call the question”, essentially halting discussion and sending the board directly to a vote, stating that at the current moment the village council is doing everything they can to help all businesses survive.