WILKES-BARRE - When he offered to paint the green line along Main Street for the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Ben Gadomski showed his true colors.
He had a crew from his company, M Mayo Striping, in town Sunday morning to get the route ready.
Gadomski who, by his recollection, has painted the line for about 10 years, sensed something wasn’t right when he didn’t hear from the city as the March 16 parade day approached.
“If they don’t call me for the green line, I call them,” Gadomski said. He figured the city didn’t have the money to pay for it.
Last week, the city’s administrative coordinator, Drew McLaughlin, said there were still discussions about the line, but the parade would go on without it.
“It is generally donated and we are seeing if that could be done again,” McLaughlin said Friday. On Saturday he confirmed a donor had stepped up.
Describing himself as the type of person willing to help someone in trouble, Gadomski said he got on the line and spoke to someone at City Hall, telling them, “I guess this is one of those years where we’re going to donate it.” The reaction was what he expected. “They were very appreciative,” he said.
City officials struggled to get through last year, laying off 11 firefighters and several other employees in December. This year they raised property taxes and fees and kept the firefighters furloughed for more than a month before bringing them back in February to stay within the city’s $44.9 million spending plan that included $30,000 for the parade.
As in previous years, it relied on sponsors to cover the cost of the event that draws thousands downtown. So far, $22,025 has been committed and it looks as if the city will have to tap into its general fund to pay the balance. However, the nearly $1,100 it cost to paint the green line and re-install sections of the double-yellow lines on South Main Street won’t cost the city a cent.
A look at the weekend weather forecast had Gadomski eager to get to work even though the parade was almost a week away.
“I didn’t want to take a chance,” he said, adding his company based in Falls has a lot of contracted work to do.
Having the green stripe between the double-yellow lines along the route adds a nice touch to the parade, something Gadomski takes pride in.
He makes sure it’s done right, right down to the tint.
“Actually I have it made special,” he said. “The traffic paint is called ‘Shamrock Green.’ ”