Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Update

Hello to all of you interested in cleaning up Burlington!

The first day of spring came and went, so that means it's time for us to step it up! The Graffiti Removal Steering Committee has made great progress drafting an ordinance that will give police officers better tools to catch vandals. The specific details have been agreed upon, and you can read them in the attachment below. City Attorney Gene Bergman has received this and will be putting our ideas into legal format from now. Hopefully by the summer it can be voted on by City Council.

Just because we've put our ideas on paper, though, doesn't mean that this ordinance's passage is guaranteed! We still have a lot of work to do to ensure that it will pass. We need to gather some data about the state of the city right now and plan a PR campaign and event or two around Green-Up Day. That's where you come in!

Our next meeting for the "Outreach Committee" will be next week on Thursday, March 29th, from 5:30-7:00, at the Center for Community and Neighborhoods at 125 College St., 2nd floor. (Same time, same place, new day of the week this time.) There is a tentative plan for the Saturday after (Saturday, March 31st) to be a data-gathering day when we will go out and count the number of tags there are right now in a specific area of town. We'll use this number to come up with a dollar amount of damage and to keep track of how effective our campaign ends up being. More details about the data-gathering event to come.

If you can't come to the meeting, there are other things you can do to start getting the issue of tagging on people's minds. Write a letter to the editor of the Free Press. Go to your NPA ward meeting and bring up the issue. (If you don't know when and where your local NPA meeting is, check out http://www.cedoburlington.org/neighborhoods/npa/npas1.htm.) Talk to your neighbors and friends about the harm that tagging is doing to our niehgborhoods-- hurting our sense of community pride, making us feel unsafe, creating an atmosphere that invites crime, etc.
Other exciting things going on: Church Street Marketplace has asked local businesses to donate gift certificates to give to witnesses of vandalism (we're going to go that route first rather than through Crimestoppers to see how effective it is so that witnesses call Burlington Police Department directly.) Also, the "Community Art Space," the fence on North and North Union Street, will feature panels painted by the Boys and Girls Club and other community youth groups and individuals and is scheduled to be fully installed and anti-graffiti coated on Green-Up Day (May 5th). If you're an artist who could coach some mural panelist kids once a week for 3-4 weeks, contact me!

That's a long enough update for now, but to reiterate, I hope to see you at our next meeting on Thursday, March 29th, at 125 College St., from 5:30-7:00!

1 comment:

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