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Iconic Ziggy mascot on Strongsville water tower will become a memory after new paint job

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Posted at 12:55 PM, Aug 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-30 12:55:16-04

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — The Strongsville Water Tower is getting a new paint job, but not without discussion to save an iconic drawing of Ziggy by famed cartoonist Tom Wilson, according to a Facebook post from the city.

Ziggy's placement on the water tower has a storied history. In 1975, a group of senior students made the risky trip up the water tower and sprayed "Ziggy 75."

Tom Wilson, creator of Ziggy from the comic strips, heard about this and got the Strongsville Fire Department to lift him up and paint Ziggy with his signature next to the Mustang mascot.

The City of Strongsville reached out to have the famous comic book character touched up on the water tower, but the family of Wilson said they’re not interested in returning the mascot to the tower.

Residents flooded the city’s Facebook page after word got out that Ziggy couldn’t be saved and kept on the water tower. Some even asked if painters could just “paint around him,” which garnered a response, “no, they can’t paint around him—he’s very faded, anyways. We’ll miss him, too,” the city wrote.

The city also said it wouldn't be an easy fix to paint around the mascot.

"The tower is rusty. An engineer could explain it better, but part of the repainting is a protective coating. Leaving part unpainted wouldn't address the rust and would apparently impact the structural integrity," said the city.

Providing a further explanation, the city said Cleveland owns the tower. Cleveland gave Strongsville a choice of the color, but nothing more. The city or schools can pay extra to have pictures painted on after the fact.

Based on pictures from the city, workers have started preparing the tower for painting.