Asheville’s new initiative to clean up graffiti seems to be making headway.
Starting July 1, the city began offering property owners up to $500 in assistance toward the cost of removing the illicit markings from their buildings. And as of today, July 16, 67 property owners have requested support and 9 locations have been cleaned up, according to Brian Postelle, the city’s public information specialist.
“The clean up is expected to ramp up toward the beginning of next week now that many of those who have signed up have completed the necessary waivers allowing contractors to access their property,” says Postelle.
The temporary city assistance, which is funded in part by a $30,000 gift from an anonymous donor, ends Sept. 30. To request the funding, property owners can call 259-5960, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Asheville App, available for free download here.
In addition to the 90 day initiative, the city recently approved higher civil penalties for the crime – levying fines of up to $1,000 on those convicted of the crime. The move came in response to mounting pressure from the local business community for the city to do more to prevent it.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina General Assembly recently approved stiffer penalties for graffiti vandalism pending the governor’s signature. “Hopefully it will act as even more of a deterrence to vandalism,” says Postelle. “It does add another tool for law enforcement when dealing with graffiti.”