City crews spent time Tuesday cleaning up the Frankfort Square band shell in downtown Columbus after the stage backdrop facing east was found spray painted.
Unsolicited spray paint was applied to the wall behind the stage showing a heart with an arrow through it, a name and some numbers, according to City Parks and Recreation Director Betsy Eckhardt. The Parks and Recreation director said City staff on Tuesday put a solution over the spray paint, scrubbed it and power-washed the wall. More work will be done in the coming days to determine if a new coat of paint will be necessary.
“It will probably have to be repainted at some point, unfortunately,” Eckhardt said.
Eckhardt said the spray paint was disappointing, noting she hopes people will call the police if they have any tips about who vandalized the band shell or if they see future instances of City spaces covered in spray paint.
The Columbus Police Department also confirmed the non-commissioned spray painting of the bandshell is considered vandalism.
It comes only a few weeks after the men’s restroom at Glur Park was vandalized. The plastic toilet paper dispenser had been torn off the stall wall, ripped into multiple pieces and then shoved into the toilet and urinal along with all of the toilet paper. The trash can was obviously kicked down, scattering garbage all around.
Before that, the City Parks and Recreation team repaired the toilets near the tennis courts in Pawnee Park for $600 apiece after people lit fireworks in them on July 4.
The Parks and Recreation director said spray paint has been an ongoing debacle in different places throughout town and that City staff can only do much to curb all of the acts of vandalism that continue to take place in parks throughout Columbus. She said she hopes residents will contact law enforcement when they come across vandalism or have information about it.
“This is also their community and their parks,” Eckhardt said. “It takes money and time to fix it, and it takes us away from other essential park things we need to do. So, I hope people will call it in when come across it.”
On a positive note, a commissioned mural on the backside of the band shell along 27th Avenue depicting a diverse musical environment that was completed earlier this year was left untouched.
Columbus Arts Council Executive Director Elley Coffin said it’s important to keep in mind the difference between art and vandalism, adding the latter hinders the community.
“Of course, I am a supporter of the arts and having the arts displayed and accessible in public places. The problem is … When individuals put their stamp on property that is not their own and without permission, this becomes vandalism,” said Coffin, who is also the City’s community coordinator. “Vandalism often slows the progression and spread of the arts in communities because it gives the arts a bad name. There are several other outlets to get involved in the arts, display self-expression, and have your work seen that can help grow and advocate for the arts rather than hinder it.
“Art is not the problem. Vandalism is.”