The picture painted by vandals costs you big bucks to clean

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) Some call it art. Others call it a crime. Either way, it’s very expensive to clean graffiti in Kentuckiana. And you’re paying for it.

“It really does make our city look bad – all the graffiti,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 5 Spokesperson Andrea Clifford said. “This is public property, tax-payer property and you are just using up state resources for us to have to clean it.”

RELATED: Taxpayers may foot the bill for graffiti cleanup

The cleaning, she said, comes with a bigger cost the closer we get to big events in our area.

The WHAS 11 News iTeam looked at the price in the 8 months leading up to this year’s Kentucky Derby. Records show, in that period, state highway crews spent $12,366.08 to clean the Cochran Tunnels alone.

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KTYC District 5 covers 8 counties in Kentucky.

In the prior 8 months, the bill for the Cochran Tunnels was $1,808.12.

Clifford said the reason for the increase closer to those events is because the amount of graffiti increased, as did the staffing for cleaning more quickly.

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“Our crews worked for two days cleaning the graffiti in the Cochran Hill tunnels the week leading up to Thunder over Louisville and they had finished on Wednesday and we got a report on Thursday that the tunnels had been tagged again and an even larger amount of graffiti than was in there before,” Clifford said.

Tagging is a growing problem in Louisville

One solution officials sought was the usage of a special wax in the tunnels to make cleaning easier. The idea turned out to be more of a roadblock than relief.

“When you are doing the pressure washing to take it off it didn’t only take off the graffiti, it took off the wax coating as well.”

Cameras have been considered, but not implemented because of higher priorities.

“A lot of people think that we don’t care about it because maybe we aren’t cleaning it up as quickly as they would like,” Clifford said, “Graffiti is more of an aesthetic issue than a safety issue, so we have to address the safety issues first.”

iTeam Investigative Researcher Andrea Ash contributed to this report. She can be reached at (502) 582-7297 and aash@whas11.com. iTeam Investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at (502 582-7323 and dnrose@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

The price tag of tagging

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