CORONA (CBSLA.com) — A landmark mural that has welcomed commuters along the Prado Dam spillway since 1976 will soon be removed for an improvement project, but its fate remains uncertain.
The massive red, white and blue mural that spans 2,800 feet is a tribute to the bicentennial and is visible along the eastbound 91 Freeway in Corona.
It is a sign for many, like Jackie Cherrington, of home. She smiles as she recalls her friends in the Corona High Class of ’76 painting it.
“That mural means so much, not just to the Class of 1976 or Corona High, but it means so much to the commuters and the community,” she said.
Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and operates the dam, will remove it later this year.
Its removal is part of a project to update the facility, and the Corps’ plans to clean up the graffiti and clear off the fading patriotic mural, which they say contains lead-based paint.
Cherrington and others from the group Friends of the Prado Mural understand the need to do so but hope it won’t remove the mural entirely.
She and 6,000 others have signed a petition to repaint the celebration of freedom. She says a local lumber company will donate the paint, and volunteers will do the work.
“It just reinforces our freedoms and how special this country is and how fortunate we are to be born here or immigrate here,” she said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to hold a public hearing on the project April 9 at Corona High School to debate three options: leave the spillway clear, paint a new mural or restore the old one.