I noticed this week that First National Bank of Northfield installed a 24 hour ATM sign at its downtown location. Very cool. It’s evidently part of the ATM upgrade that Ray Cox wrote about in his Northfield Construction Company blog last week.
Now is the time for CEO Dave Shumway, who knows how to screw in a light bulb one-handed at the top of a step ladder in front of handicap-access entrance/exit door, to grab his ladder and remove the graffiti that’s been on the upper level of the building since March of 2008.
Some sharp-eyed citizens alerted me to more graffiti in downtown Northfield. I’m not sure if these are new or part of the outbreak I blogged about back in mid-January.
Several downtown locations (businesses and public spaces) were tagged with graffiti over the weekend. I’m not sure when it happened. The last time there was a big outbreak was in March of 2008.
We discussed the graffiti ordinance in depth here on LoGro in March, 2010. At that time, the Streetscape Task Force (STF), the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC), and Northfield in Bloom were involved in addressing the problem but I don’t remember anything getting resolved. Anyone familiar with the current state of affairs re: graffiti?
I am going to suggest to the businesses to get a pressure washer to get the graffiti off. But any other suggestions would be great.
Update 11:20 PM: similar graffiti at the Carleton College Rec Center:
I blogged about the problem of graffiti on downtown buildings back in 2008 and again in 2009 so I was glad to see this item on the tentative agenda for the April 6 City Council meeting: First reading of Ordinance No. 909 – Graffiti ordinance.
As you can see from the photos above that I took this week, graffiti from the 2008 incident is still visible on some buildings. (I’ve removed the password protection on the post with the photo slideshow.)
I could find nothing on the City’s web site about the proposed ordinance (sigh) but a building owner emailed it to me and I’ve converted it to a PDF here.
90% of the proposed ordinance language is oriented towards dealing with the property owners (victims) who don’t remove the graffiti. There’s nothing about prevention or surveillance, nothing about the restrictions for buildings in the historic district, nothing about funds to help building owners with the costs of graffiti removal, etc.
This draft needs reworking, IMHO, so I’m curious how it got this far without the involvement of the Streetscape Task Force (STF) and the Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC). I don’t see anything in recent STF agendas on this issue, even though their mission includes this:
2. Explore the development of a program that may assist downtown property owners with vandalism/graffiti prevention.
Page 71 of the Streetscape Task Force plan says “HPC should develop grant program for removing graffiti from historic buildings – an expensive process.” I don’t see anything in recent HPC agendas on this issue either.
A year ago, I blogged a big graffiti incident downtown. This week, I took four photos of downtown buildings with new graffiti and added them to last year’s password-protected blog post. (Contact me if you’d like the password to view the photos.) I heard this piece on NPR’s All Things Considered this week: Cities Rely On High-Tech Method To Stop Graffiti. See this page on the TaggerTrap system which “detects the signature of a spray can and alarms the Police Department, Monitoring Center or security guard of tagging activity. With the TaggerTrap system, which includes a standalone network DVR, users can verify graffiti and the tagger responsible for the vandalism with digital video and audio over the Internet.”
In yesterday’s Northfield News: Police investigate Riverwalk graffiti.
Police are working to determine whether graffiti spray-painted on the downtown Riverwalk is gang-related. Capt. Roger Schroeder said the vandalism was discovered about 2 a.m. Monday morning by a patrol officer doing a routine check of area businesses. The spray-painted symbols were reportedly found on several buildings in the 300 block of Division Street.
I took photos this morning of the graffiti. It’s really bad. The backs of the buildings from 4th to 3rd on the west side of Division were the hardest hit, with some on the west side of the river, too.
I was asked a few years ago by then Police Chief Smith to not blog photos of graffiti, as there’s some evidence that this encourages the crime.
So I’ve put up a slideshow of the 15 photos in a password-protected blog post (below). Contact me if you’d like the password (assuming I know who you are and trust you to not pass it on or publicize it). Photo album now viewable here.
I know the City has a policy for removing graffiti ASAP from public places/infrastructure. (I notice at least 3 places in this current outbreak where it is on public property.) But is there anything that requires owners of private/commercial property to remove it? Does it matter that this occurred in the downtown’s historic district? Are there public funds available to reimburse property owners for the expense of graffiti removal?