Residents of Palm Coast’s C-Section are concerned about recurring graffiti that’s been re-appearing on bridges on Colorado Drive and Colchester Lane, after city crews painted over a spate of graffiti there last year.
“You see it under the bridges. Now on Colorado, it’s on top of the bridge,” Paul Vargo of Colorado Drive, told the council. “It’s from one end of the bridge to the other on both sides. You go down the other side of the bridge on the west side and it’s on the telephone poles. It’s on utility covers over on Colchester, and the porta potties.” Merely painting over it, he said, is a band-aid approach.
Unlike anti-Semitic graffiti targeting Jewish or Israeli business owners in Flagler Beach late last year, or white-nationalist street graffiti years ago in Palm Coast’s L-Section, or more recently at Belle Terre Park, the C-Section graffiti appears to be more neutral–graffiti for the sake of graffiti. Based on pictures taken by city public works crews, it is almost entirely illegible, using black, blue and red paint to make shapes that individually look like letters, but that don’t seem to form comprehensible words.
While crews have to remove obscene graffiti from time to time at city parks, whoever is doing this in the C-Section isn’t so minded. While some graffiti can be quite artistic, with a long line of famous artists behind it, that’s not the case here.
Two C-Section residents addressed the council about it Tuesday, saying they’d filed reports through the city’s portal. One resident spoke with an emotional edge in their voice: “It took an awful lot for me to come up here, an awful lot,” Joy Barr told the council. “I asked them two years ago, please. When you see the graffiti, the reason why it’s there is because you’re not taking care of the problem.” The turn-around time from the time a complaint is filed to the time the issue is addressed, she said, is too long. Her own request has been pending, she said.
A city spokesperson checked the city’s portal on Wednesday and found no such complaint, but said code enforcement crews had been dispatched to the bridges to address the issue, if it had recurred. Yet Barr was insistent: she informed a city official on Jan. 9. Since then, four locations have been sprayed with graffiti, she said. The city official told her it was not gang related. The city’s spokesperson confirmed that the Sheriff’s Office ruled out gang-related graffiti. “It’s not art. It’s vandalism,” Barr said.
Council member Ed Danko said he was meeting with Sheriff Rick Staly Friday and will discuss potential measures to address the vandalism, “because it is becoming a blight in our community.”
The location of the graffiti may have been cleverly chosen by whoever is spraying: there are no traffic cameras in the area. “We’re looking at other mechanisms, cameras, things like that to be able to look at it closely and stop it and prevent it–more preventative measures rather than reactive,” Council member Theresa Pontieri said.