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(Metro Wire photo)

Buffy’s owner withdraws request to remove mural, for now

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This is an update of a story we broke on June 16

By Brandi Makuski

Stevens Point — A request to seek permission to remove an 18-year-old mural from a downtown building has been pulled from consideration, at least, for now.

City leaders were slated to consider the request from Kimberly Mozuch, owner of 1331 Second St., home to Buffy’s Lampoon Tavern in Downtown Stevens Point. Mozuch said she wanted to remove a mural installed on her building in 2006 as part of her renovation efforts.

The building is located in the Mathias Mitchell Public Square Historic District, meaning the removal process, and what might replace it, needs approval from the city’s Historic Preservation/Design Review Commission. That meeting was scheduled for June 26.

But now, it’s been canceled. Community Development Director Ryan Kernosky said Mozuch requested that the sole item on the meeting agenda be withdrawn.

“We’re going to have some more investigation done on the integrity of the building. There are a lot of entities involved and I want to know more about it,” Mozuch told the Metro Wire on Thursday. “I want to find out the integrity of the building first…maybe they can repair the mural. And I just want to make sure if that’s in the best interest of the building.”

Mozuch said she was in the process of enlisting professionals to study the building but didn’t immediately have an exact timeline. She was, though, surprised at how her initial request “blew up all over the place,” emphasizing that she’d originally planned to paint over the mural in 2025, but is open to keeping the mural.

Mozuch said Buffy’s is undergoing internal renovations, which include a special room dedicated to the memory of her late husband, Jim, who was the Buffy’s figurehead. Buffy’s is open most Friday nights, but closed the rest of the week pending the completion of a special Las Vegas-themed room in honor of Jim, who died in February. He’ll be interred at the Central Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery near King, Wis., on August 2, Kimberly Mozuch said.

She hopes the full re-launch will happen in time for the July 4th holiday.

“This is my only income, so it’s important that I keep it going,” she said.

The north and west sides of the building have been covered with the “Market Square” mural since 2006. The building was constructed in 1866 as the location of the Spraggon Bakery. It’s a two-story stone structure with a one-story rear wing, although city documents say it has experienced “a significant loss of historic integrity over the past 50 years. The building’s storefront and second-story windows have been boarded up, and its exterior, originally unpainted, has been painted.”

City records show it’s one of several murals located in the downtown area. Some recent murals were painted in partnership with CREATE Portage County, while older murals, including the “Rivermen” mural at 817 Clark St., were painted in collaboration with the city.

But many of those murals come with sunset clauses. The Buffy’s mural was painted under an agreement reached in 2006 when the Mozuchs agreed to donate the wall space and leave it unchanged for 10 years.

Mozuch, who has temporarily closed Buffy’s for renovations, has put the building up for sale. She is now requesting permission to paint over the existing mural.

The mural is a historic representation of Market Square and Stevens Point residents of the 1910s. Inspired by a postcard featuring a photo of Stock Fair Day in 1911, muralist Kelly Meredith began painting in the spring of 2006 and completed it in the fall, just in time for the annual “Dozynki” (Polish Thanksgiving) Harvest Fest.

The faces on the mural are those of actual Stevens Point residents, both past and present, copied from photos provided by their friends and family members. Funds raised from the sale of “faces” on the mural helped pay for the project, according to city records.

This story will be updated.