Ridgeway council votes to remove wings

RIDGEWAY – After the Ridgeway Board of Architectural Review (BAR) voted 3-0 on June 7 to deny a request from Patsy Palmer to allow a mural of wings on the Olde Town Hall Restaurant building, the next step was for the town council to vote on whether to remove the wings from the wall or let them stay.

Town council voted 4-1 on June 18 to pay a company to remove the wings from the building.

In an interview with The Voice last month, Cookendorfer said the Town would voluntarily bear the cost of having the mural properly removed from the wall, sparing Patsy Palmer, who consigned the mural, the expense of having it removed.

Ridgeway Town Clerk Vivian Case said town hall received only one bid for the work. That bid was submitted by Historical preservation consultants, Felzer Consulting out of Tega Cay, S.C. for onsite removal of the mural with environmentally safe products. The work will be done by Ford Restored out of Charleston at an estimated cost of $3,945 for labor and materials, plus the cost of mileage and travel expense.

On June 18, Corkendorfer and council members Don Prioleau, Belva Bush Belton and Rufus Jones voted to hire Felzer Consulting and have the wings removed from the building. Councilman Dan Martin voted against.

Palmer spoke during public comment, calling on council to leave the wings on the building.

Palmer spoke during public comment, first apologizing, saying the wings painting was not supposed to end like this. She then talked about the process she went through.

“I talked to a lot of people and there wasn’t a single person that had an issue with it,” she said. “I went to an artist because this is our community. I have seen paint on buildings around here. I don’t know if ya’ll are aware of it, but if you look in the back of Olde Town Hall Restaurant, it is painted. If you look in the back of it, inside where the brick comes up, it’s painted on the inside.” she said.

“It is an issue about personal taste and personal like,” Palmer said. “We can all fool ourselves.”

She said the thing that bothered her the most was that she was under the impression the bar was going to get to vote on it. She said she was disappointed that the bar had two new members and that she didn’t get to speak at the BAR meeting.

According to the SC Freedom of Information Act, the public does not have the right to speak at meet not have the right to speak at meetings unless the board or council so deems it or if the meeting is an actual public hearing.

According to Ridgeway Zoning Administrator Robert Hartman, the issue should have gone before the BAR to begin with.

“That did not happen.”BAR Chairman Ryan Martin said. “As I recall it all came about through phone calls with the mayor. That’s not the proper procedure. We must follow procedure.”

Palmer reportedly said she had permission from town council to have the wings painted on the building which is owned by the Town.

Mayor Heath Cookendorfer confirmed as much to The Voice, saying, “When Patsy asked me if she could have the wings painted on the building, I thought it was a good idea and called the other council members to see what they thought. They all agreed it was, so I told her, “Yeah, go ahead.”

Not only does town council not have the authority to approve such a project, council’s on-the-fly ‘vote’ is a violation of the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Councilman Rufus Jones told The Voice that, in hindsight, he realizes that he made a mistake to agree to the painting. Councilwoman Belva Bush Belton said she doesn’t remember actually agreeing to the painting going up on a specific building.

“We didn’t specifically ok this location, that location,” Bush told The Voice, “and it never came up for a vote or even to discuss it in depth. The next thing I knew, I was driving through town and it was painted on the building.”

Councilman Dan Martin said he also did not approve the wings being painted on the Olde Town Hall Restaurant.

“The concept was good, but I was concerned about the damage it could do to the brick and mortar. That’s a historic building and the bricks are old.” Martin said. “I would consider painting it on a board or on something that could be used for events and taken down.

Cookendorfer said he just wasn’t thinking when he gave Palmer permission to paint the wings on the wall.

Hartman subsequently issued Palmer and the Town of Ridgeway a Stop Order that stated: “The ‘wings’ graffiti shall be immediately removed by the Town of Ridgeway and Patsy Palmer from the Olde Town Hall building and must follow all correct procedures to not damage the bricks and mortar upon removal.”

Hartman further instructed the Town and Palmer to seek the assistance of the appointed town historian Jon Ward in determining proper removal of the paint from the brick.

“I told them (the BAR), “If you vote to leave it, then it stays,” Corkendorfer said in an interview with The Voice. “If they vote to remove it, then we’ll remove it.”


  1. Linda Segars-Szanto says

    Wake up Ridgeway !!!! The wings have spark the interest of many!! I want to drive from Woodstock Ga .
    Just to take a picture and post it on social media!! It’s a hit….
    Promoting Your local artist ….You have some well loved and local social media influencers ,There Advertising your town for free!!! Am I going to have to rush there now?!?!
    Do an image search if you know how?!? “See have far the wings have spread”
    Room ring them could cause more damage anyway. Please don’t remove them!!

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