TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The city of Tucson is hoping to save money spent on cleaning up graffiti with a new pilot program.
Tucson currently spends $1.6 million on graffiti abatement.
The city is forming a partnership with local businesses and neighborhoods to discourage tagging on traffic signal boxes that are scattered throughout the community.
Every intersection which has a HAWK light also has a control box.
Those boxes are easy targets for taggers.
"The city doesn't have the resources to go and continue abating graffiti," Ward VI Councilman Steve Kozachik said. "It's like lapping the track over and over again."
Under the program, the city will enlist the help of the arts community to paint the boxes and beautify the city,
All the designs must be approved by the city.
All of the boxes will also be coated or wrapped with a graffiti-resistant coating which will allow the graffiti to be easily removed with a little water.
Other cities across the country have already begun the program, and their success is why the program will be tried in Tucson.
Alma Wong, co-owner of Vac Man on Congress Street thinks "it's a good idea."
"We'd help with some money," she said.
Her business sits night next to a signal box, which she said gets tagged and painted at least once a month.
"Sometimes it's every week," she added.
She said there are eight businesses on the corner and she thinks they'd all chip in.
Artist Lawrence Lee has a concern.
"Wouldn't that art be distracting," he said, concerned motorists may not keep with eyes on the road.
"There's no literature out there to talk to that point," said Jorge Riveros of the Tucson Transportation Department. "We have public art throughout the city and quite honestly, we haven't seen any issues."
The city will discuss the issue at its regular study session and then vote on the resolution approving the program at its evening session.
Kozachik hopes this will be the start of a public/private partnership which will save money.
"This says to the private sector, we want you to be part of the solution," he said.