Sunday, August 29, 2010

Linden taking on graffiti with help of new machine

LINDEN -- Over the last several years, more and more scribbles of paint have appeared on walls around Linden, revealed in the morning like clusters of toadstools.
“It’s transcended from art to vandalism, really,” said John Venditto, general supervisor with Linden’s Department of Public Works. “It’s been increasing, to be sure. It’s starting to spread all around town, so the townsfolk were starting to get very nervous.”
 So when CitySolve Systems, a graffiti removal business from Brooklyn, approached the city last year with an apparatus that cleans buildings of graffiti, the city was interested.
After shopping around, the council approved the purchase early this spring, and for $64,990, the city got a trailer full of powerwashers, special solutions to remove graffiti and industrial-size supplies of neutral colors of paint so that entire walls can be repainted as graffiti crops up again.
“The neat idea this company had is if you can’t remove the grafitti, paint over it,” Venditto explained. “There’s certain blends of paint that mix in well with bridge abutments and buildings, and you just paint it, and if they tag it, we hit it again right over the top of it.”
A few public works employees were trained to operate the equipment, and the city is working its way down a list of high-profile locations.
Graffiti removal is a big deal for business ownersn like Michael Fedor, owner of A Brite Neon Factory on Routes 1 & 9.
“Our building was just repainted about a year ago,” Fedor said. “Starting about six months ago somebody put graffiti on it, and they kept adding to it and adding to it, until half the wall was covered. It was horrible.”
The new wall suddenly looked like an abandoned building, Fedor said, until early this month, when Linden public works employees came to him with the new tools and offered to repaint the wall for free.
“Business is not all that great right now because of the economy, and I couldn’t afford to repaint the building,” Fedor said. “So they came, and it was like God sent somebody. It was great.”
If his building is tagged again, Fedor said the city workers told him to call right away so they can respond immediately.
That suits him fine.
“(Graffiti painters) may think it’s art, but to me its just horrible,” Fedor said.


Taken from: NJ

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