Billings, Montana – Recently, Billings parks faced a surge in graffiti, leading to new measures against this issue. In December’s unexpected warmth, these parks became popular spots. Chase Crosby, enjoying the warmth at Pioneer Park, expressed his delight on Tuesday.
However, not everyone visiting had positive intentions. Crosby expressed sadness over people damaging the beauty of the park. Graffiti appeared at Pioneer and Stewart parks over the weekend. Mike Pigg, head of Billings Parks and Recreation, noted on Tuesday that the graffiti varied, with some suggesting youth involvement and others possibly linked to gang activity.
Fortunately, alert citizens helped catch the culprits at Pioneer Park, Pigg mentioned.
“We caught the kids that did this graffiti so that’s great,” Pigg said to KTVQ. “One less group doing that. But yeah, if you see somebody doing it, call the police.”
On Tuesday morning, Parks and Rec teams were busy removing graffiti.
At Pioneer Park, a new anti-graffiti method helped with the cleanup.
Billings parks uses new, cost-effective method to remove graffiti
Mike Pigg explained that Sherwin Williams suggested a special coating. To prevent further damaging, Pigg explained that the department put a graffiti-resistant coating after they painted over the graffiti and ruined the overall park experience. The graffiti removal process is easy – just use a pressure washer for a few minutes- but doing that every now and then uses resources, both financial and labor.
Graffiti has been a common issue recently. In Billings, there were 79 cases in 2022 and 51 in 2023. The city is trying new methods to deal with it, including a special coating. This coating can’t be used everywhere, but it’s effective on certain surfaces.
Pigg explains that this coating isn’t suitable for all places, like playgrounds or raw brick buildings. However, it works well on painted areas that are often targeted by graffiti.
Pigg encourages locals to report any damaged or vandalized park facilities to his office. For graffiti happening right then, he advises calling the police.
“If you do see it in the parks, call me. My office phone number, (406) 657-8373, call me anytime,” Pigg said. “We’ll get in here and get it cleaned up. We get to it that much faster.”
Ruined experience for Billings park goers
Visitors to the park have a message for those causing damage:
“If you want to express yourself, do it in another way,” said Travis Moe, who was at Pioneer with his family on Tuesday. “Do it in a positive way if you have to. Don’t tear up places that me and my family and other families get to enjoy.”
Additionally, Pigg mentioned that Billings Parks and Recreation is now accepting bookings for park buildings and shelters.
“This is when we open up our shelter rentals and our building rentals. Very big time of the year, especially for people who want to book for graduation parties or weddings,” Pigg said. “If you know you got a wedding coming up and you’re wanting to do it in the park, get a hold of us now because spaces fill up. Those registrations opened up on the first. We’re taking them. Our office has been very busy today.”
To learn more about reporting vandalism, click here.