Taxpayers may foot the bill for graffiti cleanup

Graffiti becoming a problem at local sites

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – LMPD says three people vandalized the entrance to the Big Four Bridge and for those who manage Waterfront Park, it's a frustrating sight to see. No arrests have been made.

Detectives say “tagging” structures in the Metro can earn you criminal mischief charges.

From the interstates to the skate ramp, graffiti is easy to find in Downtown Louisville but it's not free to remove.

“Somebody's got to clean it up, which requires graffiti remover, it requires equipment, it requires a truck, labor, manpower and it's a daily operation now, I mean it's all over the city of Louisville,” Gary Pepper said.

Pepper is the Director of Facilities at Waterfront Park, but he wanted to meet at a place he's watched transform into a canvas for taggers, the Louisville Extreme Park on Witherspoon near Slugger Field. Pepper adds, “They don't even care what it looks like and as you can see it’s not even good quality graffiti, it looks very amateur, it's horrible, it's costly for everybody to take care of, repair and maintain.”

Randall Freeman, a visitor to the skate park tells us, “It's totally inappropriate, you shouldn't be tagging stuff like that especially in public places where kids play.”

For places owned by the city, the director of Metro Codes and Regulations says it's a combination of city, taxpayers and property owners that foot the bill for repairs.

As for Waterfront Park, the Development Corporation uses its own funds to handle vandalism.

Pepper explains, “I have a little more flexibility but the city's public works department – that’s a lot of square footage, that's a lot of areas, that's a lot of blocks to keep up and they got a small crew, to try and keep up with it, it’s endless. It’s frustrating being a taxpayer and cleaning it up and the next day you come in, somebody has torn it up.”

LMPD continues to search for the three people responsible for using graffiti near the entrance of the Big 4 Bridge on June 29.

Pepper says his team works fast to fix waterfront property that is defaced adding, “I can respond to it within six to eight hours, usually the next morning, we take priority as soon as we see it, we go clean it up and get rid of it so it doesn't escalate and grow...and then becomes two which becomes four which becomes eight.”

Some call it art, others call it an eyesore, but what is not up for debate is that graffiti remains against the law. 

Here's a look at the latest numbers from Metro Call:

In 2016, there were 179 cases of vandalism not on private property between January and June. 209 cases on private property and five on vacant property.

For this year, you can see a decrease in graffiti not on private property, just 19 cases so far from January to June 2017. 262 cases on private property and six on abandoned homes.

Call the LMPD non-emergency hotline if you witness vandalism in the act, that's 574-7111 or call Metro Call to report sights of graffiti that you see after the fact.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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