Sidewalk placement lures vandals

This sidewalk just south of Senger Place along the Hutchinson River Parkway service road could become a trouble spot for graffiti when a work fence comes down. As pictured above, the new sidewalk is almost directly adjacent to a large wall stretching hundreds of feet along the parkway.

The construction of the Pepsi bottling plant between Brush Avenue and the Hutchinson River Parkway service road near Ferry Point Park includes a new sidewalk that some residents feel will encourage graffiti..

The sidewalk along the Hutchinson River Parkway service road, recently installed directly adjacent to the huge plant’s back wall would seem like the perfect spot for graffiti vandals to strike.

The wall stretches along the length of the sidewalk for several blocks – inviting taggers – despite assurances from the Pepsi Bottling Company of New York in College Point, N.Y. that the site will be monitored 24-hours a day and 7-days a week.

“We have people up at the Brush Avenue site all of the time,” said an employee of the Pepsi Bottling Company of New York. “There is a trailer at the worksite with a superintendent at the site all of the time. It is not just like we are putting up a building and leaving it.”

JoAnn Sohmers, president of the Ferry Point Civic Association, Inc., said the installation of the sidewalk shifts more responsibility onto the operators of the new bottling plant.

“The installation of the sidewalks are great, because now people can walk by the Pepsi plant on the Hutchinson River Parkway service road,” Sohmers said. “However, Pepsi is going to have to police the property and take corrective action if there is any graffiti on their wall.”

Pepsi Bottling said that they plan to grow invasive vines or shrubbery on the side of the building facing the Hutchinson River Parkway that would inhibit graffiti artists from using the building as a giant canvass.

Such concerns are not completely without precedent, as several years ago a graffiti vandal spray-painted a 300-foot long word – “Cheez” –along the side of a supermarket on the corner of Crosby Avenue and Bruckner Boulevard.

Another community activist from the Ferry Point area is concerned about a still-wild patch of land next to the Pepsi construction site near Jay Place that will become an area where the giant facility’s emergency exits are located.

“I had said maybe we could make a community garden and a pretty area for sitting near Jay Place – where grandmothers could take their grandchildren,” Dorothea Poggi, president of the Ferry Point Community Advocates, said. “Some of the neighbors didn’t like that because they were afraid it would become a hang out.”

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