While he hasn’t exactly counted how many signs line the road, he is certain it is a lot — a conclusion he reached on a recent Saturday morning spent cleaning graffiti off nearly every one in his community.
Now, when he glances down his street, Messinger sees clean surfaces, instead of the bright green smiley faces, pink letters spelling out “your mom” and the black and white “tags” on transformer boxes. Along First Street, which he considers the city’s mini urban park, cyclists cruise their multi-hued bikes and the occasional pedestrian trails behind his or her dog. During evenings and weekends, it is nearly impossible to navigate a vehicle along the short one-mile stretch.What makes Messinger, the 25-year-old president of the Ish Brant Beautification Committee, happy is that those individuals no longer have to look at the spray paint marring their residential street as they go about daily life.“We can stand here and not see a single thing with paint on it. That makes me feel good,” he said. “You can plant all the flowers and trees you want. But if you have people coming out here and spray painting, then it doesn’t help.”
Armed with razor blades, sponges and chemicals to remove paint, Messinger, Chris Goodin and Aaron Evans spent nearly five hours removing graffiti and stickers. They used multiple scrubbers, several cans of paint remover and at least 16 razors. As they moved through the community, Messinger said the response from neighbors was only positive.