Drive to paint fire hydrants yellow, blue spearheaded by youth

12-year-old is catalyst for fire hydrant painting project

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

The city is in the process of spreading Rocket Pride throughout the community by encouraging neighborhoods to paint their fire hydrants yellow and blue.

The project, which has "several hundred" hydrants to go before completion, according the Mayor Glenn Broska, was initiated by Alec Hillyer, who was 12 at the time and has since turned 13.

Alec said he got the idea came from Aurora, where a similar project took place.

"A couple years ago I thought of the idea," he said. "But I got to present it this year."

Broska, who said it's "wonderful" that a youth in the community was the catalyst for project, recognized and commended Alec in a proclamation at a July 28 City Council meeting.

"Here you have a kid who saw something, and he wanted to incorporate the school spirit to the approach to the schools along Route 303," said Broska. "I had more than a few calls and emails, saying 'Hey, that really looks cool. Can we do it in the rest of the city?'"

Alec said he presented the idea to Broska and Fire Chief Robert Reinholz this spring.

"It was kind of nerve-wracking at first, but once I got talking it got pretty easy just saying my ideas," he said.

Broska said the water department's rules concerning hydrant color were revised in June by City Council to require all hydrants be painted yellow and blue.

"I think the yellow and blue stick out," he said. "It's good for the fire department. When they're red, sometimes they just blend in."

Alec said the bonnet of the hydrant is painted yellow, the body blue and the caps and chains yellow.

Jim Hillyer, Alec's father, said Alec and friends who've lent a hand have painted about 25 hydrants in different areas of the community. He said they painted hydrants on Weincek Road, Annalane Drive and Kirby Lane, as well as a portion of Route 303 and Tinker Green where they live.

In addition Alec's family, including his dad, sister Taylor and mom Heather, several friends and neighbors have helped, including the Bregitzer family, Trevor Collins, Dylan and Joe Crtalic; and Mark and Tyler Dick, Ron Miller, and the Claflin family.

Also pitching in are Head Varsity Football Coach John Arlesic and the football team, and employees from L'Oreal, said Jim. The football team painted hydrants in the Cherokee Trail and Saunders Creek neighborhoods, and L'Oreal did some areas around the center of town, said Jim.

Jim said the city is hoping there will be more volunteers interested in painting their neighborhood hydrants blue and yellow.

"Anybody can do the school pride kind of thing," he said.

Broska agreed. He said anyone interested in volunteering their time and labor to paint the hydrants should call Missy Procop in the mayor's office at 330-626-4942 ext. 106 for more information.

"We will supply the paint and the brushes and everything else to them," said Broska, adding that it makes sense for the city to administer the hydrant painting so all the hydrants use the same colors.

Jim said each hydrant takes about 30 to 40 minutes to paint.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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