City cleans up vandalism on newly installed vinyl art wrap on utility box

This utility box wrap features Sydney Bolard’s “Ontario Sunrise,” which now has blue smudges in the sky, where graffiti was removed. The vandalism happened a week ago today.

ONTARIO

After noticing graffiti on one of the city’s new utility box art wraps near the intersection of Idaho Avenue and Oregon Street on Nov. 16, The Argus Observer reached out to city officials to inquire what if anything could be done about it.

Ontario Police Chief Steven Romero said the vandalism was unfortunate and that he was hopeful video surveillance may be able to help identify the vandal.

Removing the graffiti would be up to Ontario Public Works.

The wraps were made possible by Revitalize Ontario, which received funding for the project from Hotbox Farms, a recreational marijuana dispensary.

The vandalism happened sometime after 4 p.m. on Sunday evening, and the person(s) responsible did not just tag the utility box. They also painted graffiti on the underpass and the old Vape Store on the corner.

“Each box represents an investment of $1,438 and over a year to come to fruition,” Charlotte Fugate, of Revitalize Ontario said. “Where is the outrage for the effort to make Ontario a better place to live and play? Why can’t the citizens of Ontario have something a little special?”

Steven Meland, co-owner of Hotbox Farms said while it was unfortunate, the aim is to continue adding art to more utility boxes in the future.

“It’s really unfortunate that there are some people in the community that want to do those types of different things,” he said. “Hopefully we make sure we continue the program and just because there’s one bad apple that we don’t discourage the program.”

City Manager Adam Brown replied said graffiti removal “comes under Public Works,” adding that there is a spray that can take off graffiti and “it may work with the coverings since they are made of vinyl.”

Fugate followed up later that day confirming that Public Works was able to use a lacquer thinner on the wrap, which “sort of worked” to remove the graffiti.

Public Works Director Al Cablay confirmed it was taken care of.

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