CHICAGO (CBS) — Families in Edison Park say vandals ruined their children’s community art projects not once, but twice this year.
The budding artists told CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas, they’re not giving up on efforts to beautify the neighborhood.
“We just kind of want to keep it nice,” said 13-year-old Elizabeth Xanos.
Four years ago, she and other Ebinger Elementary School students painted Chicago-themed artwork on the walls of a the Olympia Park Tunnel, an underpass beneath the Metra tracks running through Edison Park.
“It was like a community project, and we were all involved it,” Elizabeth said. “It was fun.”
But it wasn’t so fun a couple months ago, when Elizabeth learned someone spray-painted profanity over what was known as “Project Tunnel Beautification.” The city cleaned it up, leaving the walls blank.
“It saddens me, because that’s not what Edison Park is about. We’re very much a community,” said Elizabeth’s mother, Kimberly Xanos. She teamed up with the Edison Park Community Council for a solution.
The community council got the alderman’s permission for another art project, and families came to add leaves with their names on the wall.
“We’ve had over 100 people paint and add leaves to the walls from the ages of about 3 to about 70,” said Edison Park Community Council member Paul Struebing.
But then it happened again. Last week, someone spray painted “Chiraq” and another message over the leaves painted by kids.
“It’s just awful. Someone decided that what they wanted to say or what they had to say was more important than what everyone else had put on the wall,” Struebing said.
“A lot of people like to see a lot of the stuff when they walk through, and a lot of people like to see like memories and stuff like that. So it’d be nice to keep it like that,” Elizabeth said.
Kim said it might deter the vandals if better lighting could be installed near the tunnel.
In any case, neighbors aren’t calling it quits. Now they’re asking people to give it another shot. Families can come out on Sunday to help redo the artwork.
If you’d like to paint, you should sign up at the Edison Park Community Council’s website. They want people to sign up in advance so they can make sure it’s a socially-distanced event.