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Posted on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 4:09 p.m.

DDA to help pay for graffiti removal on downtown Ann Arbor buildings again this year

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority will make grant funds available to downtown businesses for graffiti removal again this year.

DDA officials announced the news Tuesday, saying allocating funds to subsidize the cost of graffiti removal supports the DDA's mission to improve downtown and attract new investment.

The DDA approved funds for graffiti removal in 2009 and 2010, and officials said the program proved to be successful.

On Monday, the city announced a campaign to address increased graffiti in the downtown, and the DDA said today it is putting $2,000 toward the program for 2011 — down from the $5,000 the DDA provided in 2010.


This graffiti has been on a building on the 300 block of East Liberty Street in downtown Ann Arbor for several weeks and has not been removed yet.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"As I’ve said previously, we all benefit when graffiti blight is removed quickly, and DDA grant funds allow us to improve downtown aesthetics without placing an additional burden on downtown businesses who are the victims of graffitists tagging their property," DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay said in a statement today.

"In past years, this grant has allowed us to have a large impact with a relatively small investment, and with increased enforcement, we’re making a commitment this year as well."

The city's graffiti ordinance requires property owners to remove graffiti on private property within seven to nine days after being notified in order to combat tagging, which is a nuisance crime that officials say works against the sense of safety and security.

Residents have several options for reporting graffiti, including calling the community standards unit of the Ann Arbor Police Department at (734) 794-6942 or e-mailing complaints to They also can submit a complaint online.

The DDA’s grant program works in partnership with Anderson’s Paint and Fingerle Lumber Co., which DDA officials said have been strong supporters of downtown.

Downtown building or business owners who find their building or sign tagged with graffiti can visit either Anderson's or Fingerle to obtain free anti-graffiti supplies.

In addition to offering rollers, paint remover and other supplies, Anderson’s and Fingerle are able to offer expert advice on the best way to address the damage, which is important because many downtown buildings are historic and require special attention, DDA officials said.

At the end of each month, the DDA reimburses the companies for the cost of the products they’ve dispensed.

Unrelated to the DDA program, the city spent $6,377 for the removal of graffiti on city-owned property last calendar year, according to Matt Warba, the city's assistant field operations manager.

If the removal was done within a park, then the park maintenance millage funded it. And if the graffiti was on non-park space, the general fund absorbed the expense.

Warba said the city also did four removals on private property at the request of the city's community standards unit for a total of $192 that was billed to the property owners.

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said the city's crackdown on graffiti fits in with a set of other strategies the city is planning to combat problems in the downtown.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 7:08 p.m.

All these grants that are out there for private companies probably had someone do the crime for they can get paid to clean it up.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

I totally agree with with vg550. We are all ready paying to house them, so put them to work. The trustee's would love it to. They get a chance to breath fresh air and get out of the confinement, and I bet they would be over joyed to get out and do it. The minor offense inmates wouldn't be glad to do it too. There are more ways to get things done then to spend money. We are paying for there residence, so get them working for it. Knock off some of the housing debt that they are not going to pay too.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

I agree with Goober those defacing property with graffiti should have to clean up the damage and do community service ..... but IN THE MEANTIME... how about puting the criminals in our jails to work cleaning up the graffiti. We taxpayers are feeding and housing them for just sitting and doing nothing.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 12:05 p.m.

We need to find a way to catch those defacing property with graffiti. If those that are caught/convicted, and they are minors, their parents should also contribute in retribution. Retribution should be a minimum of a clean-up of the graffiti damage, as well as community service.


Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

Why not use the "ART Fund" to remove this unwanted ART? Both make the city look better!