BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor City Council will be having a Government Operations Committee Meeting devoted entirely to the growing problem of graffiti vandalism in the Queen City at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, on the third floor at City Hall.
Downtown Business Owners, City Officials, and representatives of the Shaw House have been invited to the event and public comment is expected.
Currently the City of Bangor ordinance dealing with graffiti vandalism imposes a $20 fine to those caught and Councilor Charlie Longo believes that should be increased. Councilor Longo stated, “If we can increase the fine, it will enable the city to have a better bargaining position before this ever gets to a courtroom. It will allow the vandal a chance at community service, and the potential of learning from their mistakes without a lifelong record.”
Another measure that has seen success in other communities across the nation is allowing an area in which legitimate artists have a chance to express themselves. Longo added, “I have been in contact with at least one downtown property owner who has stated that he would be willing to allow a changing mural to be painted on the side of his building as long as the City was on board. If this specific property does not work out, I hope we can explore other options.”
An important community stakeholder that will be on hand is a representative from the Shaw House. The Shaw House provides shelter, day programs, a medical clinic, transitional program, outreach services, and education programs to homeless and at-risk of becoming homeless youth in the 5 counties surrounding Bangor, Maine. Longo explained that, “studies have shown that many graffiti vandals are young people and having the expertise from the folks at the Shaw House will be beneficial to the conversation.”
Longo recently walked the businesses of Downtown Bangor and heard some compelling stories. The Councilor stated, “I spoke with a woman who parked her car to enjoy lunch at a local business in broad daylight. An hour later, she returned to her vehicle only to find that the phrase Love=All
=Now was spray painted on her trunk. These are the stories that are important to hear as elected officials and I hope others will share on Wednesday.”