By Jean Lotus
Oak Park Police said they continue to investigate the graffiti incident at Ridgeland Common Oct. 11.
"There is no indication that this is gang-related," said Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds. "This is a tagging crew." Reynolds said Oak Park police were working with CTA and Chicago police to identify the offenders.
Police found other graffiti with one of the tagging names, "Cavi," at Oak Park and River Forest High School written with black paint on a porta-potty and a white garbage can. They also found the tag on the metal frame on one of the soccer goals.
The Park District spent at least $1,300 to remove the graffiti. Taggers used pink and black spray paint to tag the wall and doors of Ridgeland Common Saturday, sometime between midnight and 5 a.m.
Parks officials said they believed the graffiti artists "came in off the Union Pacific train tracks," said Park District of Oak Park Director of Marketing and Customer Service Diane Stanke. Stanke said police and the park district were reviewing surveillance tapes.
McCahill Painting of Romeoville was contracted to remove the graffiti, which was gone by around 10 a.m.
The building façade is covered with a non-porous high pressure laminate paneling called Trespa, Stanke said. The easy-clean material is used for outdoor decoration on public buildings and is meant to be low-maintenance and graffiti-resistant.
Workers used an organic cleaning solvent called "Elephant Snot" to remove the paint, Stanke said.
In July before the new rec center opened, the park district found evidence on surveillance cameras that thrill seekers were jumping from the Union Pacific train tracks to the roof overhang of the new building.
"We spoke to the safety officer at Union Pacific and they agreed to improve their patrols, which they have done," Stanke said.
The park district erected a fence between the turf field and the field house, but that's mainly to "keep soccer balls from going on the roof," Stanke said.
She said the park district is boosting security at Ridgeland.
"We will continue to work with Union Pacific and the police to figure out some other options."
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