ORINDA -- A city landmark at the Orinda BART station is on its way to finding a new home -- and a new life.
Planning commissioners approved removing and relocating a 23-foot-wide illustrated map hanging near the station's entrance.
Painted by Orinda resident and artist Lonie Bee, now deceased, the mural highlights historically significant locations in the city. It will be re-created by artist Ellen Silva and hung on the exterior of the Kinder Gym at the Orinda Community Park.
The original map will be stored at the Orinda Historical Society.
Historic Landmark Committee chairman Carl Weber said that the time had come to replace the mural.
"If you've had the chance to see it, you will see how weather-beaten it is and how it's lost its color and much of its information," Weber told city leaders Wednesday.
The new piece is an attempt to re-create Bee's initial vision, which has a somewhat muddy history. Records from the city's pre-incorporation days, when the mural was commissioned, are scant, and all of the people involved in the original project are either dead or have left the area, Weber later said.
Originally commissioned by the Orinda Historical Society in honor of the 1976 American Bicentennial, the mural began life as a smaller painting depicting 26 historically important locations, including the Old Moraga School, Sullivan Ranch and Home, and the Orinda Country Club.
It was commercially
"I gather that the original artist may have actually painted the icons himself directly," Weber said about some artistic touches added to the reproduction. "(Bee) may have actually painted the whole thing over again."
The mural received a major upgrade from local artists in 1997 but, Weber said, has since "lost its zip."
He told planning commissioners that artist Silva will work from photographs to recreate the mural. Once finished, it will be installed at the Kinder Gym under an eave that should help protect it from the elements, including the water that has plagued the BART mural.
"We have to start from scratch," Weber said. "We think it's worth saving this landmark."
As for the vacancy created when the mural is removed, Orinda Planning Director Emmanuel Ursu assured commissioners that BART is aware the city would like to reserve the space for public art. He said staffers are working with BART to place signs in the area directing people to local landmarks.
The city also will work with the Orinda Arts Council to replace the mural so the space remains dedicated to public art.
The project is estimated to cost $6,500. A portion will come from a $2,200 Orinda Community Foundation grant, with the rest from park dedication fees, upon City Council approval.
Funds for new public art have not been set aside and it's possible that no city funding may be necessary, Ursu said.
Mural removal costs are being negotiated with BART.