Glenwood Springs cleans up Thanksgiving vandalism
Glenwoods Springs staff removed graffiti from the city’s nameplate on Interstate 70 Exit 116, following a spree of vandalism on Thanksgiving.
“The cleanup was a little unique, because the sign was sandstone,” said Dan Roper, the Parks and Recreation Department parks superintendent. “Typically, when it comes to graffiti on concrete, we can just pressure wash it or paint over it, but that’s not the case with sandstone.”
Cleanup took city staff about four hours and entailed handscrubbing the sign, but Roper said the sign was not further damaged as a result of the effort.
Glenwood Springs Police Chief Joseph Deras said the department had no suspects in the vandalism case, which involved the phrase “stolen land” being spray painted on surfaces throughout the city.
One of those surfaces included a police vehicle, Public Information Officer Bryana Starbuck said. Repairing the vehicle cost the city approximately $500, Starbuck said.
City vehicles were last targeted by vandals about a decade ago, according to police records.
Graffiti is nothing new to Glenwood Springs, Roper said, but city property is only targeted a handful of times each year.
“I’ve been here about two years, and I haven’t seen an increase in the frequency of the events,” he said.
For some projects, such as the 27th Street Bridge, the city uses a layer of protectant to deter graffiti in areas easily reachable by potential vandals. Being sandstone, however, the Exit 116 nameplate doesn’t have any anti-graffiti protectants, Roper said.
The sign has not been targeted by vandals since it was moved to its current location in 2017, the city reported.
In other areas around town, such as the tunnels under Midland Avenue near Glenwood Meadows, the city has installed video cameras to deter crime and innovated some creative solutions for removing graffiti.
“We found that painting over the tagged panels in the tunnel with bright colors instead of our normal gray works pretty well,” Roper said.
The city uses paints — reds, blues, greens, purples and whatever else is on hand — leftover from other projects to cover the vandalism, and so far it has acted as a deterrent.
“We don’t always remove the graffiti immediately, because of how our work priorities are structured,” Roper said. “But, we prioritize the removal of any racist, sexist or bigoted symbols. Most of our staff is experienced enough at this point to take care of the removal.”
Starbuck said the city continues to work toward finding additional deterrents, but eliminating graffiti entirely is not feasible.
“It’s an unfortunate event in our public spaces,” she said. “But we’re really fortunate to have a great parks team that responds to these events quickly.”
Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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