graffiti_120A graffiti blitz hit Lansing last week with major damage to buildings, signs, the Lansing playground, local monuments, and Lansing High School property.  Lansing Park Superintendent Steve Colt says that while his staff has been working on removing hateful symbols and slogans this week, professionals will be needed to repair the iconic Lansing lighthouse and bluestone memorial benches and plaques in Myers Park.  The vandals also attacked Ludlowville Park, the former Lansing Central School District Office, and the Lansing High School concessions building at the football field.

"A lot of the things that were hit were community projects,"  says Parks Superintendant Steve Colt.  "The playground was a community effort.  The lighthouse was a community based effort.  These are things that everybody owns, not just the Town of Lansing. Everybody owns it and they're very proud of it, so when something like this happens...  I've taken calls every day this week.  people call me to tell me what's happened -- of course we already know -- when people go down to walk on a nice day they're outraged by what they see.  Some of them are really outraged."

A local playground company, Parkitects Inc., has provided some professional-grade graffiti remover, and his staff has been working on removing the most offensive vandalism first, including references to Necro, a New York based rap performer whose work Colt says is vile and extremely violent.

"Some of the language, you just can't leave it up," Colt says.  "It's so bad that you have to try to rectify it and get it cleaned up as best you can.  We tried to remove some of the relaly vile stuff as soon as we could."

graffiti_ludlowvilleandplaygroundThe band stand in Ludlowville Park and the playground in Myers Park are among many damaged buildings and monuments

Tompkins County Sheriff's Deputies responded last Friday morning after Lansing Schools Buildings & Grounds Supervisor Glenn Fenner discovered the vandalism on school grounds.  On a hunch he went to Myers Park, where he discovered the damage there.  He called Colt, who has been working closely all week with High School Principal Eric Hartz to discover who created the damage.  Colt says the damage in the park used the same paint and font style as that at the school campus, making it almost certain that the same person or people damaged school and town property.

The lighthouse was made of 3,000 hand cut bricks and a special mortar coating that Colt says will make repairing the damage expensive.  He says that removing graffiti from the lighthouse and bluestone memorials are beyond the capabilities of his staff, so professionals will have to be hired for those repairs.

Colt says he intends to pursue the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law, and is cooperating with the Sheriff's office and the Town's insurance carrier.  He says that if necessary his department will offer a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals.

"We need to send a message that this is not OK," he told the Town Board Wednesday night.  "I don't think any of us are willing to let this go.  We're going to hunt until we find them.  We're committed."

graffiti_lighthouseRepairs to the lighthouse will be costly because spray paint is not easily removed from a special mortar mix that coats the structure

Town officials say that a minor incident last month appears to be by the same perpetrator.  After the watch fire event in Myers Park last month the large stone at the entrance to Myers Park was spray painted with slogans and a style similar to the graffiti in last week's attack.  Colt says that local residents are taking the attack personally especially because some of the damage was to community projects.  Most notable are the playground, which was funded by donations and built by community members in 2010, and the lighthouse, built by Andy Aasen with community help.

"People have time in this," he said.  "To them the reasons they built it and their commitment is worth more to them than the money.  When they hit that they really kicked the sleeping dog."

Colt says that in one incident Lansing went from a relatively benign history of vandalism to public parks to the worst.

"I've been here 26 years," he says.  "Every park in America has some tomfoolery now and then, but this is way above and beyond the limits of being outrageous.  There's just no reason.  It's going to be very costly.  It's also very disrespectful to the people that work down there trying to keep that park absolutely immaculate."