Graffiti Removal: Town 5 years and Counting, Councilman Cook 5 Days and Done
For years, residents of Huntington Station have been complaining about graffiti on town owned property. They have been asking town departments to clean up this property. It is disgraceful that with all the talk of “Revitalization of Huntington Station” the first thing a visitor sees coming into Huntington by train is graffiti.
This was first brought to the attention of public safety by our Newspaper in 2012. In December 2013, it was again reported to Public Safety. After about a month, they informed us that the wall and Graffiti was the MTA’s property and problem.
According to the Helix, the town owns this property. The graffiti was on a fence, on a parcel that the town took over by eminent domain in 2005. The town’s own records clearly indicate that they are the owners of this property. If in fact, the town really didn’t know that they owned this parcel, they should have taken up the issue with the MTA.
In March of 2014, we wrote an article about the graffiti and again asked the town to clean up their property. Several months after we published the article, the request was made again directly to Supervisor Frank Petrone who promised that it would be taken care of. That was several months ago.
At a meeting on February 25, 2015, of the “Huntington Matters” civic group, Ken Lindalh, the Public Safety Director of the town, gave a presentation about what the public safety office has accomplished. Ken Lindahl has since resigned.
Lindhal was asked, “What has happened to the complaint about the graffiti on the town owned property known as Rotundo“? Lindhal responded, “Nothing has been done as of now.” The group expressed frustration about this type of typical government bureaucracy and stated that it was ridiculous that it would take more than 5 years to paint over graffiti.
Councilpeople Gene Cook & Tracy Edwards were at the meeting. They both agreed that this should be an easy problem to solve and they understood the frustration the community was feeling. Councilman Cook asked Edwards if she would work with him to get this resolved. Councilwoman Edwards agreed and said “I will buy the paint”.
Councilman Cook contacted various departments in the town but got the impression that nothing was going to happen. So he decided to take matters into his own hands and personally keep the promise he made to the community at the Huntington Matters meeting.
A few days later Councilman Cook and Councilwoman Edwards put together a small group and they painted over the graffiti.
This is not the first time that Councilman Cook has taken a complicated problem caused by government bureaucracy and turned it into a simple solution. Unfortunately, the public doesn’t hear about many of these cases because unlike some of the other councilpeople, Mr. Cook isn’t big on self-promoting press releases.
Last year, On Saturday, September 27, 2014, Councilman Cook helped the local VFW Post 1469 get their parking lot paved. The Veterans were asking for help for years. Cook got it done at no expense to the Post or to Huntington Taxpayers. You can read more about that here.
Shortly after he was elected, Cook immediately responded to residents of Boxer Court in Huntington Station who had been living next to a derelict Town of Huntington owned garage since the 1950’s. You can read more about that here.
With the help of community members Rich Hall and Kirk Brister, Councilman Cook painted over the gang tagged graffiti on the town’s property. Hopefully this is the end to a community eyesore. If the property gets defaced again, we hope the town can move quickly.