More than a year since state officials were informed about the graffiti under the Hutchinson River Parkway overpass along Lincoln Avenue in Purchase, Harrison town officials are frustrated since the state has yet to clean it up.
According to Republican Mayor Ron Belmont, since the Hutchinson Parkway overpass is a state right-of-way, the state Department of Transportation is in charge of its upkeep.
“It has been over a year, and it has not been addressed,” Belmont said, “It’s gotten even worse.”
During a Sept. 19 Harrison Town Council meeting, members of the council addressed state Assemblyman David Buchwald, a White Plains Democrat, about worsening graffiti issue.
Buchwald said that, after speaking to DOT officials in Region 8, which includes Westchester County, he was informed the state hired an outside contractor to remove graffiti around state roads throughout the entire region.
“Thanks to my call, we are sure that the underpass has been added to the list,” Buchwald said.
Although a timeline could not be given, as of press time, Buchwald said the DOT confirmed the contractor plans to address the Lincoln Avenue underpass.
Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini said that, while the underpass is a state roadway, when vandalism is reported, local police are generally given the task of taking a photograph of the graffiti before removing it. Although the state is required to maintain its roadways, Marraccini said, the police department usually takes care of it in order to expedite the process.
“We usually remediate it…because it is unsightly and has no place in the town,” Marracci-ni said.
A couple of months ago, members of the police department also painted over graffiti reported along the Westchester Avenue underpass by Interstate 287.
According to Marraccini, police have also seen a few graffiti-related arrests in recent years, and are working to track down the person or persons responsible for vandalizing the Lincoln Avenue underpass.
-Reporting by Daniel Offner