By Ed Harris
A local man is hoping walkers along the linear trail will want to share the things they hope to do before they die.
With a little help, Joe Kleszcz is establishing a Before I Die wall along the Southington Rails to Trails. The 48 foot by 8 foot wall will resemble a giant blackboard where people can answer the question, before I die I want to…
“Sometimes we all get so distracted from technology that we forget that life isn’t going to last forever,” Kleszcz said. “So I want my wall to make people stop and think for a second. Make them aware that the time is now to chase after what they really want in life. I want people to fulfill their hopes and desires and I think this will be something to help them do that.”
Kleszcz said he stumbled up on the idea for the wall while writing an essay on how graffiti could be an art form instead of vandalism.
The wall will adorn the back of a building at the intersection of Bristol and West Center Street. The building is owned by Kathy Rickard.
Rickard said she first heard of the wall through the Southington Talks Facebook page. She immediately felt that the wall would be a great addition to her building. Rickard owns another adjacent building that the Southington High School Unified Arts students are working on.
“I think it will be fun to watch the project evolve,” Rickard said. “When it is complete, I’m looking forward to see what people in our community will write on it.”
Local artist Mary DeCroce is helping Kleszcz with the wall. Together they are clearing out bamboo plants that are blocking the wall, painting the wall and treating, painting and hanging the wood that will help create the wall.
DeCroce said there are similar walls around the world. Once she heard about the proposal she was on board.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, this would be something to do on the trail,”’ she said.
Kleszcz and DeCroce will work on the project throughout the summer and hope to unveil it during the second weekend of the Apple Harvest Festival.
For more information on the wall, visit the Before I Die Wall page on Facebook.
By Ed Harris