By Ryan Hill

NEVADA CITY (CB13) – A section of Commercial Street in downtown Nevada City is home to restaurants, clothing stores and other shops.

It’s also a place that store owners have wanted to spruce up for a while.

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“As a community, we’ve tried to make this place more beautiful,” said Melany Castillo, owner of SoulCrafts.

Castillo said some people volunteered to try to do that recently with a river mural done by a local artist.

“There were rocks, and fishes painted,” said Simone Schwing, owner of Sheba Moon. “I had heard that it might be happening and we thought it was a beautiful concept.”

It’s something that Castillo and others said was loved by many.

“These people just came with their heart and did the artwork in the front. And everybody liked it. It was like widely approved,” Castillo said.

“It was like what a sweet way to liven up a street that needs a little love,” said Moriah Blue, owner of Two Little Birds Boutique.

But the painted flowing river turned to black when it was covered by the city last Friday.

“I wanted to cry, honestly. It was just, it was shocking,” Blue said.

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The artist who made the mural didn’t want to be interviewed about it being covered, but CBS13 wanted to know why it was.

Interim City Manager Joan Phillipe told CBS13 that the mural wasn’t permitted.

“There would be an application filed with the city. It would be reviewed by staff, recommendations given, would then go to the city council for approval as a city right of way project,” Phillipe said.

Despite the disappointment over covering the mural, the city met with the store owners on Tuesday to talk about the future of Commercial Street.

CBS13 was told by store owners and the city manager that the painted-over mural situation was brought up. The city said that it will work better at communicating with these businesses with these or other types of situations.

“The city has been criticized in the past for not communicating well with businesses and we want to change that,’ Phillipe said.

The painted blue water may be gone, but Castillo feels it’s not in vein following Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think there’s something happening now today which didn’t happen before. And thanks to the river, actually that created this whole catalyst to come together.”

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Phillipe also said there were safety concerns when it came to the mural when it came to the type of paint that was used. She said that if the artist would want to apply for an application for a new mural, it would certainly review it, make revisions and present it to city council.