Graffiti vandals struck the nonprofit Imagination Station in Detroit, delivering another blow to the art project two years after a suspicious blaze ripped through the group’s two houses near the iconic Michigan Central Station.
Imagination Station co-founder Jerry Paffendorf, who helped transform the two decaying houses into colorful, attractive works of art, was beginning a major cleanup this summer.
“Everything this year has been about cleaning and greening and thinking about what’s next,” Paffendorf recently posted on Facebook
The area around the Imagination Station is beginning to see development. The nearby vacant CPA building, for instance, is getting renovated, billionaire Matty Moroun has pledged to accelerate rehab work at the abandoned train station, and growth in Corktown continues to spread north along Michigan Avenue.
But there are Detroit-style setbacks. Less than two months ago, a graffiti vandal painted on the city’s new dog park adjacent to the Imagination Station.
Now Paffendorf and others are hoping to find out who vandalized the side of the house.
“does anyone know who these 3 tags belong to?” Paffendorf asked on Facebook. “this is why we haven’t been able to have nice things. but that can’t happen anymore. nice things must be had!”
Paffendorf and volunteers plan to paint over the graffiti this weekend.
Over the past year, graffiti has exploded in popularity in Detroit. Nothing is off limits – historic buildings, road signs, occupied businesses, churches, cars, houses, light poles and even trees.
Fed up with the vandalism at a time when the city is beginning to see a resurgent interest in reviving Detroit buildings, police are dialing up enforcement and even launched a tip line to track down graffiti vandals, who have grown emboldened by city apathy.
Three Grosse Pointe teens are expected to soon be charged for vandalizing two downtown buildings.
City officials began meeting about new enforcement efforts following our investigation into the unprecedented level of vandalism in Detroit, mainly by suburban residents.
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Police Tip Line
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.