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Graffiti bad for city's downtown businesses

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MUSA Citizen
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Joined: Nov 19 2015
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    Posted: Jul 09 2018 at 10:21am
Leaders: Graffiti bad for downtown business

Vandals painted a garage door used by the Middletown Lyric Theater at its building
on Central Avenue. RICK McCRABB/STAFF Photo
2 hours ago
By Rick McCrabb, Staff Writer, Journal-News


Graffiti artists are creating “an issue and a problem” in downtown Middletown, said Jeff Payne, director of Downtown Middletown Inc.

Over the last several weeks, Middletown business owners are waking up to find graffiti painted on the sides of their buildings, Dumpsters and doors. Payne said the graffiti doesn’t paint a positive message downtown.

“Obviously, we’re not pleased,” said Payne, who said DMI’s building on Central Avenue was spray painted.

Middletown police and the city’s Community Revitalization departments are coordinating to “take care of this issue,” Shelby Quinlivan, communications coordinator for the city, wrote in an e-mail.

Maj. Scott Reeve from the Middletown Division of Police said it’s difficult to catch the culprits because they typically strike at night and it only takes seconds to deface a building. He said several downtown businesses have surveillance cameras, but the footage was shot too far away to identify the vandals. He said police patrols are hoping to catch the vandals “in the act.”

Mary Huttlinger, executive of director of Middletown Visitors Bureau, said there typically are three reasons for graffiti: a frustrated artist who doesn’t have “a better outlet;” gang members marking their territory; or teenagers “out for trouble.”

She said the graffiti isn’t artwork or gang-related, so she believes it’s the work of juveniles.

One Middletown downtown business owner, Jeri Lewis, believes the juveniles are painting the graffiti to “find a voice in their lives.”

Now, Lewis hopes to turn that ambition into something “positive.” Lewis, whose family owns the former Castell Building, hopes to meet with other business owners to create a “graffiti wall” where painters will be encouraged to use that instead of tagging buildings.

“They want a voice,” she said.

Lewis said the graffiti sends the wrong message to downtown visitors and potential business owners.

“(It) deters people coming downtown,” she said.

One message downtown reads: “Demons were here.”

Kingswell Seminary plans to open a seminary downtown on the second floor of the Castell Building in the next few months, Lewis said.

“God is bigger,” Lewis said. “She needs to shed light on stuff like that and get it cleaned up.”

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VietVet View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 09 2018 at 1:57pm

Would the city leaders have been as concerned about graffiti if it had occurred in other parts of town outside the realm of the downtown area?

Would this graffiti story have gotten the media attention if it had occurred in another part of town?.......

Or is this yet another example of placing the downtown area on the "highest focus" part of town?

What's the matter. Are some getting concerned because this problem is so close to the sacred ground known as the S. Main St. area and we all know the city must protect this area at all costs using all resources/money available.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 09 2018 at 8:45pm
Have to agree with you on this, Vet....
I have watched other parts of town take the hit far worse than the little bit of graffiti in the former downtown area, and no one seemed to notice or care about it then. This is hardly something new.

Goes with the "new" Visitors' Bureau quote "We need to get more people downtown".

Come on---is it again going to be the sos from this "new" group?
Judging by the names involved, I wouldn't expect anything else. The former downtown area has a little life now(for a LOT OF $$$$). The rest of the town needs a serious push forward now after being neglected for the last 20 years. The Meadows owners nailed it in their front page piece. How many times has Yankee Road been closed, and for how long each time over the last 10 years?? This long-running on/off closure has taken a serious toll on all businesses in the southwest part of town, and no one of municipal consequence seems to care at all.

Fortunately the Sonny Hill Community Center is plowing forward throughout the area difficulties.

We seem to live the old flick Groundhog Day terminally. Nothing ever gets done differently or area-wide.

So--build your graffiti wall at OUR expense, just put it in the center of Broad/Central/S Main to keep the trash down there. And give it some sort of stipend and press release accolades.

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Joined: May 03 2013
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote itsamee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jul 10 2018 at 2:04pm
I think a big issue is with it being in a concentrated area. I would argue this would also make the Journal if we saw it happening in a concentrated area like town mall and the outlying buildings. Or if it was happening frequently on the Atrium campus and surrounding areas.  
In addition, I have seen a lot of the graffiti and it is on the side of small businesses down town. This means it becomes more of an issue because the small business owner now has to do the removal on their own. It's not like they can just expense it to a bigger corporate office.  
Itsa me, mario!
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