Blight into Beauty: Cleaning Elmira’s vandalism

Local News

The City of Elmira has been getting quite the makeover as community volunteers painted over vandalism that has marked the underpasses and trestles for years. 

Much of the vandalized properties belong to Norfolk Southern Railroad. 

In order to do any work on the underpasses, the city would need permission from the company. 

But earlier this week a portion of vandalized areas disappeared and on Tuesday night, a small group of local volunteers cleared up the rest. 

“We just want to beautify this area and make it more welcoming,” Nick Grasso, a candidate for Elmira City Council’s 1st District, said. 

Materials like bushes and paint were donated by a local business, Twin Tiers Paint and Wallcoverings Inc. 

Volunteers said increased patrol such as security cameras and lighting could help improve the vast amount of vandalism throughout the city, but it’s not just up to local officials. 

“I just don’t think we should rely solely on city officials or the departments,” Grasso said. “I think the message that we’re going to send is that if those entities aren’t willing to step up to the plate and do stuff like this, there are volunteers, like myself, Community Arts and Downtown Cleanup, that’ll just get things done that need to be done.”

Grasso said this movement to clear Elmira’s blight is not the last. 

“There’s a lot of vandalism all over the city, public parks and other public spaces like this and I think this movement will keep going forward,” Grasso said. “There are a lot of people willing to do things like this and they want to see the community improve.” 

For more information on how to get involved contact Community Arts of Elmira or Elmira Downtown Development.

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