Press Release from City of Toledo:
Mayor, public service department unveil “Operation Wipeout”
New arsenal combats graffiti in Toledo Neighborhoods
Toledo Mayor Michael P. Bell and representatives of the city’s Department of Public Service today unveiled its new arsenal to combat graffiti in Toledo.
Named “Operation Wipeout,” the self contained unit features a generator; paint supplies, and chemical removers, and can be accompanied by a power washer. The vehicle is staffed by two Neighborhood Beautification Action (NBA) team members who scour the city in a converted 1986 GMC box truck that has been vinal-wrapped in colorful, but intentional graffiti of its own to wipeout unwanted tagging across Toledo.
The task force also now uses environmentally-friendly, biodegradable chemicals to remove surface graffiti. By spraying the affected area, brushing it or wiping with soft cloths and then power washing it, graffiti can be quickly removed from a variety of surfaces ranging from concrete and brick to smooth metal. Previous efforts to remove graffiti relied mainly on the use of sandblasters or painting over tagged surfaces. In 2012 the NBA team abated nearly 450 instances of graffiti.
The Department of Public Service has been engaged in a benchmarking initiative since 2010 to bring best practices in public service to Toledo’s service divisions with the goal of improving efficiency and delivering greater service to Toledo taxpayers. The graffiti removal unit was inspired by an industry best practice learned from San Francisco, California.
The NBA team is funded primarily through the city’s Community Development Block Grant funds to eliminate slum and blight. The team’s annual budget is approximately $700,000 and is used to combat tall grass and weeds; clean up of vacant lots, alleys and illegal dumping, board up of vacant and abandoned homes and removal of graffiti. The graffiti removal unit has been supplemented with additional sponsorship from Sherwin Williams and Kuhlman Corporation.