Northeast Times

Vandals do their dirty work at Lincoln’s stadium

Chris­toph­er An­driso paints over the last of the graf­fiti at Lin­coln High School’s foot­ball field walls dur­ing a clean-up ar­ranged by the anti-graf­fiti de­part­ment, Sat­urday, Janu­ary 28, 2012, Phil­adelphia, Pa. (Maria Pouch­nikova)

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The Ab­ra­ham Lin­coln High School cam­pus fea­tures a new school build­ing, sports fields and ar­ti­fi­cial turf at the foot­ball sta­di­um, but graf­fiti van­dals don’t seem to care.

The Bar­foot Bowl ap­pears to be their fa­vor­ite tar­get. The sta­di­um’s score­board, goal­posts, press box, track, field, bleach­ers, stor­age build­ings and walls have all been spray painted over a peri­od of time.

The city’s graf­fiti abate­ment team was in the sta­di­um last Sat­urday morn­ing, paint­ing the walls and sur­vey­ing the oth­er graf­fiti van­dal­ism. The team also cleaned up the graf­fiti on an ad­ja­cent build­ing that houses lock­er rooms and a swim­ming pool.

The weath­er was per­fect for a cleanup, since the power wash­ers are ef­fect­ive only when the tem­per­at­ure is 40 de­grees or warm­er.

Tom Con­way, a deputy man­aging dir­ect­or who over­sees the May­or’s Of­fice of Neigh­bor­hood Ser­vices’ qual­ity of life pro­grams, be­lieves the van­dal­ism is caused by loc­al young people who are drink­ing and us­ing drugs.

“Clean­ing it up is the easy part,” he said. “Main­tain­ing it is the hard part.”

The graf­fiti abate­ment team strives to be a rap­id re­sponse unit that re­moves spray paint with­in three to four busi­ness days, weath­er per­mit­ting.

To re­port graf­fiti, cit­izens can call 311 to speak to a live op­er­at­or, leave a mes­sage at 215-686-0000 or go on­line at www.phila.gov/qual­ity­oflife

Tip­sters should provide the ex­act ad­dress and the ZIP code.

“Let us know where the graf­fiti is,” Con­way said. “Call 311 or the hot line or put in a com­plaint through the Web site.”

One tough job will be to re­move the graf­fiti from the 250 or so sta­di­um bleach­ers. Con­way is hop­ing to en­list the help of neigh­bor­hood vo­lun­teers for the massive un­der­tak­ing, tent­at­ively sched­uled for early March.

Milt Mar­telack, the new pres­id­ent of May­fair Town Watch, hopes the School Dis­trict of Phil­adelphia can for­ti­fy the fen­cing around the peri­met­er of the grounds to keep out van­dals. He’d be will­ing to post “No Tres­passing” signs.

Mar­telack also hopes to work with Phil­adelphia and school dis­trict po­lice to keep people from us­ing the park­ing lots as a make­shift driv­ing school and dog own­ers from al­low­ing their pets to roam off their leashes and ru­in grass ath­let­ic fields.

“It’s a new school. They put a lot of money in­to it, but people have zero re­spect for this school,” he said.

The graf­fiti abate­ment team, sadly, was quite busy on Sat­urday. Be­sides clean­ing Lin­coln, the crew re­moved graf­fiti from loc­al park­ing meters, schools, play­grounds and the John M. Perzel Com­munity Cen­ter. ••

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You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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