By Mike Dunn

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program is restoring the very center point of Philadelphia — a mural on the ground of the courtyard of City Hall that dates from the early 1990s.

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William Penn planned Philadelphia with the City Hall courtyard as its center, and in 1994 city planner Ed Bacon commissioned a mural at that very point, depicting Penn’s original plan. Now artist Nathaniel Lee with the Mural Arts program is leading a team of volunteers in restoring the mural.

“We’re actually restoring the original compass that was painted here, that represents the very center of the old Philadelphia plan,” Lee says. “So this was the center point back in 1682 when they laid out the city. So (the mural is) going to be a stylized map from the 1600s, with the two rivers bordering it on either side.”

An earlier restoration by artist Cathleen Hughes came about ten years ago, but even that has worn away.

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“The winters are especially brutal when they snowplow through here and use the rock salt on the art,” Lee says. “Boy, does it tear it up. So, yeah, it definitely needs a refreshing. And I’m using historic photos from the City Hall archive to rebuild what has been lost through the wear and tear.”

Lee says this time they’re using a method that is expected to make the mural more durable.

“What we’re doing is we’re sealing it really well,” he says. “And we’re putting this anti-slip stuff in the sealer, so people can walk over it without having any problems.  But no matter what we put down, just being outside, all outside artwork just gets a beating from the weather.”

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Lee expects the restored compass to be complete by Friday.