‘Let’s do this:’ Grantioch leaders, Overland Park plan to rid neighborhood of ‘graffiti rash’

Juliana Garcia - January 13, 2020 11:49 am
The suspects tagged a utility box, located on 80th Street east of Eby Street, multiple times. Philip said the utility company will not clean it because the box is fully functioning.

The words “Goon” and “Ghost” line fences and utility boxes throughout Overland Park’s Grantioch neighborhood, near Shawnee Mission West High School.

Grantioch experienced a “rash” of graffiti in spring and fall of 2019, and now, neighborhood leaders are taking action to get rid of it. Neighborhood leaders, including Sheilah Philip and a neighbor who has a power washer, have organized a graffiti clean-up day for Saturday Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“My neighbor said, ‘I don’t want to live in a neighborhood that looks like this, so let’s do this,’” Philip said. “We’re just going to clean up as much of it as we can.”

The clean up day is specific to the Grantioch neighborhood, which lies between Antioch Road west to Grant Street and from 79th Street south to 83rd Street. Philip said there are plenty of volunteers between residents and police officers, but those who wish to help can contact her. She’s also interested in hearing about potential additional locations of graffiti that need to be cleaned.

Sgt. Richard Breshears with the Overland Park Police Department said the two suspects associated with the graffiti are juveniles, and to his knowledge, the cases submitted are still under review. Breshears said since the suspects are juveniles and the cases are still under review, he could not speak on the specific details of the cases. Graffiti cases are listed as criminal property damage, and can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the damage cost estimate, he said.

A fence on the corner of 81st Street and Grandview Street reads “goon” on one end, with “ghost” and “cookies” on the other.

The cases were only made because of the efforts by neighborhood leaders to report the criminal activity, Breshears said. It’s important for residents to collaborate with both the city and the police department to keep a watchful eye on their neighborhoods, he said.

“In this case, it was a great partnership between the neighborhood and the police department to, hopefully, see the rash of graffiti in this area cease,” Breshears said.

Philip said the clean up day date may be pushed by one week if inclement weather gets in the way. To alert Philip of a graffiti area in Grantioch that needs to be cleaned, contact her at (913) 568-7231.

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