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New graffiti-free program, partnerships designed to empower homeowners

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INDIANAPOLIS – Nonprofit Keep Indianapolis Beautiful is behind a unique program that will offer Indianapolis homeowners and community groups access to free paint and other supplies to help tackle the graffiti problems in their neighborhoods.

The program will be well underway when the toughened citywide graffiti ordinance takes effect in April. Lowe’s and Valspar Paints are providing corporate sponsorship.

“They’re not getting on as much as they used to because we’re cutting the bushes and trees that give them the time and protection to get artistic,” said Delores Williams Bentley, a near west side homeowner who has been working with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and others to clean up her neighborhood. Her 90-year-old mother, who lives down the street, is also involved.

“This is our neighborhood. If you live here, you should take care of it,” said Allene Williams.

The women tell Fox 59 people of all ages are helping out in their neighborhood including younger boys who often act as graffiti “spotters” so they can paint over the problem areas as soon as possible, but they are about to get more help through the KIB program.

“Rollers, paint brushes and paint trays,” said Joseph Jarzen with KIB about the free supplies that will be made available in two weeks. “If it’s on there, and it’s offensive, it’s going to be addressed.”

“It’s a drain on morale. It’s a drain on their property values,” said Jeff Miller, an Indianapolis City-County Councilor who has long supported the program and is behind the toughened graffiti ordinance.

Property owners will face a $50 fine if they don’t paint over or remove graffiti from their property within 30 days of it being acknowledged by the city.

“We’re using it on the deadbeat property owners that leave their properties in disrepair,” said Miller. He also claims the KIB program, which was created in conjunction with the new law, will give any business or homeowner access to free supplies if they’re serious about cleaning it up at no cost.

A discount will be given to those who need a specific paint color through the use of a voucher at Lowe’s.

Williams said the first distribution event on Oct. 7 can’t come soon enough. It will be held at the Lowe’s at 8801 E. 25th St. between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

“What do you do to keep them from doing that? Call the police if you catch them? You don’t catch them so we just have to do the work over,” she said.

Those interested in the free materials must sign up ahead of time with KIB. Interested volunteers are asked to do the same, especially if there is an interest in scheduling a big cleanup effect.

More information can be found at the KIB website under Graffiti Free Indy.