Vandals tag greenway

Someone spray-painted graffiti on the walls along a new greenway walking path in the Union City section of Naugatuck last week. –RA ARCHIVE

Someone spray-painted graffiti on the walls along a new greenway walking path in the Union City section of Naugatuck last week. –RA ARCHIVE

Graffiti washes away easily with new coating

NAUGATUCK — It didn’t take long for someone to mar the image of the borough’s brand new, $2 million greenway.

Naugatuck officials noticed late last week that someone had spray-painted graffiti on a retaining wall near the entryway to a walking path from the Gen. Pulaski footbridge to Linden Park in the Union City section.

The black and red spray paint has a mix of letters and designs. Nothing about the graffiti appeared to be offensive. In fact, the phrases that are legible state, “inspire love, not hate” and “love over hate.”

Still, the graffiti doesn’t sit well with local officials.

“It’s sad, but not unexpected,” said Jim Stewart, public works director.

And because he and other government officials expected the vandalism, they put an anti-graffiti coating on the retaining walls. The type of anti-graffiti coating the borough layered on the walls is a polymer that forms a weak bond on the structure with which it is applied, allowing for easy removal.

On Monday Street Department employees scrubbed every bit of the black and red paint off of a retaining wall near an entrance to the greenway, Mayor Robert Mezzo said.

Stewart said the polymer will be reapplied after the graffiti is removed.

“We bought the anti-graffiti coating because we expected this — it’s too big a target not to be hit,” Stewart said.

In December, Naugatuck officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the dedication of the first phase of a three-phase greenway project. When completed, it will travel along the Naugatuck River from near the Waterbury line to Beacon Falls. The first phase has been lauded as a great enhancement to the Union City section. The project cost $2.17 million; Naugatuck’s share was $434,948.

It connects the pedestrian walking path to a walkway along Linden Park, and then goes to the pedestrian walkway along Route 8. The project includes park benches, bike racks and lights.

Naugatuck residents enjoy the greenway, and the vandalism is disappointing, said resident Harry Ragnauth, who walked his dog along the greenway Sunday morning and does so nearly every day.

“If I am the one who sees them, I am the first one who is going to call the police,” he said. “This isn’t right. When people come from out of Naugatuck and see this, it gives a bad impression.”

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