You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

Vandals deface East Delhi Bridge in Scio Township

By Lisa Allmendinger


Vandals struck the East Delhi Bridge defacing it with graffiti.

Courtesy photo | For

Vandals painted multi-colored graffiti on the rehabilitated East Delhi Bridge in Scio Township and Washtenaw County Road Commission officials are looking for anyone who might know who is responsible.

Roy Townsend, county highway engineer, said three signs, the railings, retaining wall, entrance, abutments and the bridge itself was tagged with different colors of paint.

He estimates that there is about $2,000 worth of damage - that the signs alone cost about $200 apiece.

Ironically, it was Rich Cook, a member of the East Delhi Bridge Conservancy, who worked for years to save the 116-year old bridge from being replaced, who found the damage Wednesday night, Townsend said.

Almost two years ago this month, about 50 people watched as two cranes lowered the one-lane, 116-year-old refurbished East Delhi Road bridge truss onto its new abutments in the Huron River.


Vandalism on the East Delhi Bridge.

Courtesy photo | For

The Road Commission had closed the bridge to motorists for safety reasons in June 2005 and residents in the small hamlet to the south of the bridge formed a conservancy and worked for years with the state and the Road Commission to have the bridge rehabilitated rather than replaced.

In fact, residents in the area agreed to a special assessment district to pay for future maintenance of the bridge, but this falls outside routine maintenance costs, Townsend said.

The Road Commission is asking anyone with any information about the vandalism to call 761-1500.

Metro park police are investigating, he said.

Similar vandalism has occurred in two or three other locations in the county and Townsend said, “We’ve caught the person.”

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at


Jon Saalberg

Sun, Jul 17, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

@sallyxyz: It would probably be a good idea to know who is doing the graffiti before you post a comment about it. Do you know anyone who has done graffiti? Do you know for a fact that high school kids are the ones responsible for the activities you mentioned? If not, your comments are speculation and serve no purpose other than to cast aspersions on teenagers without any proof that they have done anything wrong. Additionally, there is no connection whatsoever to the above-mentioned activities and graffiti. And if you do know who is responsible for the acts you mention, I would think you would turn these individuals in to the police, so the people in question receive the appropriate legal punishments.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Based on the skill level, I suggest that these pieces are the work of wannabe-gansters aka. bored suburban teenagers.

Cendra Lynn

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

Writing or painting on public properties have gone way down in class with this generation. Remember "Welcome to the Trestle" on the side of the Tubbs Rd. RR bridge. Meant you were half way through your canoe trip. And I actually know the person who knew the guy who made the stencils and used them to spray paint, LIONEL, on both sides of the RR trestle crossing Washington. Top prize, however, goes to the folks in the Sixties who painted over the bottom of the billbord on US-23 N. at Dundee which advertised Holcim Cement Factory: Pollution Capitol of the Midwest. No one could figure out how it had been done and made to look professional as the sign was so high. If this graffiti does not meet quality standards, after the kids have either cleaned it off or earned the money to have it cleaned, they should be sent to me for a course in cultural standards and intelligent civil disobedience.

Elaine F. Owsley

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

Put them in pink jump suits while they publicly clean up their mess and bunk them at the jail til it's done.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

Charlie Brown's Ghost has it just right: "art critics" go into ecstasies over the supposed graffiti tags of certain bums, wanting to protect their work and noting how important and significant it is. It is not surprising that others think this is an acceptable form of "self-expression" that is being encouraged. No! It is all vandalism no matter who does it and we should not tolerate it in any setting, urban or rural. Whether the architect or engineer that designed the vandalized structure is Albert Kahn or some unknown county engineer their work is the real art; the taggers are mere pretenders.

Hot Sam

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

We get what we tolerate...

John B.

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 6:17 p.m.

So true.

Silly Sally

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

Ann Arbor had little or no graffiti in the late 1990s. Then during Art Fairs, our tax dollars were spent by the Ann Arbor Library to conduct classes on graffiti "art" on white sheets. Of course, some took the next step, graduating from sheets to building walls and other outside venues. Each year the library has sponsored this, and each year, graffiti around Ann Arbor has increased. Why should our tax dollars teach kids to conduct a nuisance such as graffiti? THis practice should stop.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 3:19 p.m.

I think the problem is much bigger than classes at the AADL. Thugs are coming into A2 from surrounding communities and committing crimes at all levels. I just read an article about Flint and the mayor is asking for help from the national guard because criminals are roaming the streets. If anyone thinks thugs are staying in their own communities to commit crimes, think again. A2's problem is lack of prosecution and "slaps on the wrist" for similar vandalism committed by high school kids for "senior prank day." Kids are not being taught the difference between criminal acts and a harmless prank. Graffiti is vandalism regardless of where it occurs.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 4:43 a.m.

" If a person thinks it is OK to paint a rock, then they think it must be OK to paint a bridge." Yes, yes. The rock is a well known "graffiti gateway", leading to sidwalk chalking, wall tagging and eventual intravenous use of spray paint.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 3:46 a.m.

It starts with the younger generation and their mentors. For many years I have watched ADULTS take kids with paint cans & paint brushes to the Rock on Washtenaw Avenue. If a person thinks it is OK to paint a rock, then they think it must be OK to paint a bridge. Washtenhaw County should put who ever did this deed to work, first cleaning up their mess and then painting the exterior of houses on the Old West Side!! After one day of cleaning and painting in this 90 degree heat, they will never want to see a paint brush again!

John B.

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 6:16 p.m.

Or they could help remove non-conforming fences in the HD on the OWS.... ;-)

David Paris

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 3:04 a.m.

I know that if I were a youngster with a paint can, it would make my day to have my work publicized in the news paper , err... news website.


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

These look like drawings drawn by a 9 year old!


Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

I wonder if it was the same brats that carved their names in the new Dexter Pinckney/Portage bridge, while the cement was wet. What a shame. Just think if these were your kids - the embarrassment!


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 11:45 p.m.

Just saying: I don't believe that "similar to" means "equivalent to" in this case. Urban graffiti is commonly done on what artists call "waste space" or "wasted space" which - not coincidentally - is also unattractive. The intention of the perps who messed up Delhi Bridge was clear: that's defacement, an expression of anger or rebellion and it's usually done to "punish" either individuals who value the thing being defaced or to "punish" society as a whole for what the perp thinks is society's pretensions. Or - it could have been done out of careless disregard for what is new. Unless this defacement on the bridge shows itself to be a "gang marker" (a sub-genre of graffiti), then I'll stick to using vandalism / defacement when referring to it. Whatever: It's clear we have a consensus forming on the nature of the "work" and of the perpetrators.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

Considering the state of the other bridges on the river I'm shocked; SHOCKED IT TELL YOU!

Ron Granger

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:58 p.m.

Taggers thrive on attention, even those with no artistic ability like these. But by posting images of their chicken scratches, you encourage them.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

I don't think you mean that "attention" of the kind suggested by several commentors is automatically meaningless or that true punishment of the perpetrators can be achieved by silence. There's an old saying which goes: Enjoy (what you've done) while you can - retribution is on the way.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

This seems pretty simple. Start looking through the local yearbooks for those with initial "CSK" and plea bargain from there.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

This is nothing, folks. Why doesn't AA dot com do an article on the graffiti and vandalism in Gallup Park? Take a look at the walking bridge by Mitchell Field that connects to the park and Arb. Earlier this spring, it was totally vandalized underneath with huge graffiti. Or how about the wooden benches in Gallup Park that are continuously carved up with teens initials (the benches have dedication/memorial plaques as well). Or how about the park bench in Gallup Park in the stretch from the Arb to the main park that was totally covered with spray paint last summer, and even after removal attempts, the outlines of the paint are still visible. Or how about the continuous graffiti under the Huron River Bridge in Gallup Park? It gets painted over and more appears. AA has a thug problem and graffiti is only one example of their egregious behavior. Not nearly enough prosecution of these criminal acts. More and more high schoolers have "discovered" Gallup Park in recent years and consequently, there is much more litter and graffiti this year and last. I see them walking around smoking cigarettes and tossing trash along the path as they walk along the paths. Or floating on tubes tied together with cases of beer. Great combination, beer and a swiftly moving river. Punks and thugs need to find other places to spend their summer unless they can behave appropriately.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:20 p.m.

What is this? Silly news day in Ann Arbor?


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

Catch them please, make them pay and clean! A 90 degree day would be good.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

If they catch these little stinks, make them clean it up at their expense, fine them, put them in the tank for a week, and then put them on probation for a year. Hard swift justice will help to deter future actions.

Mr. Ed

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Why is Metro park police doing the investigation. Or what are Metro Park Police? I'm guessing they are the Metro Park police that patrol the Metro Parks in SE Michigan. Maybe the Sheriff's don't have the resources to catch the people involved. Don't we have sheriff's in Scio Twp?

Mr. Ed

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 10:24 p.m.

Several bridges span the river and are close to the Metro Parks. I'm still confused, it's a County Bridge not a Metro Park Bridge.

John B.

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

This bridge is essentially part of the entrance to the Metro Park, and spans the Huron River.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

I hope they catch the people that did it ... and they AND their parents be made to clean it off .. along with graffiti on other places! Heck with fines or tickets ... make them supply their own cleaners, etc., and clean it off!


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

I just returned from Yosemite National Park - a World Heritage site because of it's overwhelming beauty. I just returned - to THIS. Defacing natural or manmade sights like the Delhi Bridge just shows that there are too many people preoccupied with the wrong interests, the wrong outlook and the wrong motivations. Start early and don't let your kids grow up to be trivial minded and trivializing punks. One way or the other, such people will waste their lives and will also do their "best" to make us pay for their wrong-headedness. It's the only "importance" they see in themselves. Suggesting: once caught, these vandals MUST be made to pay full restitution for the damage they did.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

"Suggesting: once caught, these vandals MUST be made to pay full restitution for the damage they did." - kids don't pay restitution their parents do. I wouldn't; I'd let my kid go to jail for the summer. If the family has no money no restitution will be paid; that's a fact.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

Just do what Detroit does, tax the blank out of its denizens and use the money to clean up the mess. Pink eh? Wow. Who would have known pink would be color of choice.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

Why is it that in rural areas this is "defacing" and "vandalism" but in the city it's "art?" Good Night and Good Grief

David Paris

Sat, Jul 16, 2011 : 3:06 a.m.

CBG, maybe you weren't around when Trappers Alley was defaced? Can't say that I recall anyone calling the new white coat "art"!


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

It's not art regardless of where it appears. It's vandalism and a criminal act.


Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Because in rural areas the people that do this are vandals. In the city, they are artists. Seems obvious enough to me. I hope they catch these miscreants and sentence them to as many community service hours as it takes for them to undo their work with a toothbrush and a can of Comet.

the other guy

Fri, Jul 15, 2011 : 7:04 p.m.

If you show the grafitti to us it may provide a clue!!