By Catherine Roberts
Tulsa, Okla. – A new partnership with Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology will help Tulsa address its graffiti problem. Mayor Bartlett, representatives from Spartan and City Councilor Jim Mautino held a press conference at City Hall this morning announcing that Spartan students will be volunteering to help clean up.
"The student council at Spartan has become very energized over the last several months," said Thomas Arko, Spartan's Senior Vice President of Education. "The students were looking for a way to reach out to the community, become better community partners."
Spartan contacted the Mayor after his recent speech calling for volunteers to help the city deal with graffiti.
The cleanup effort will begin with the areas around Spartan as well as city District 6, Councilor Mautino's district. Arko said that students' efforts will not be limited just to those areas, however.
Work will begin once school is back in session July 12.
"A lot of people don't think it's a public safety item," Mautino said, "but it is, because they're tagging their neighborhoods. They're saying, We control this area.'"
The city currently has one budgeted graffiti abatement crew, headed by Public Works Deputy Director of Public Facilities Dan Crossland. He estimated that the crew tackles four to five thousand sites per year, with a current and growing backlog of around 300.
"This need is certainly there," Crossland said. "This is just going to be a fantastic opportunity to work together with a group in a formal fashion."