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. ••EndFragment