ADRIAN - In only seconds, an unknown vandal damaged a community mural that took more than 100 hours to create.
A black streak, about 20 feet long, can be seen on the bottom portion of the mural on the side of the Lenawee County Transportation building.
The 92-foot-long mural depicts the culture and the history of the predominantly rural southeast Michigan county.
But for residents of the once crime-ridden east side, the project symbolized the rebirth of their neighborhood.
“I'm really disappointed. I just don't know what goes through somebody's head to do something like this,” said Dionardo Pizana, Community Development and Diversity educator for Michigan State University Extension. “This was something that we just never wanted to see happen. This mural was something that people were starting to take pride in.”
Adrian police are continuing to investigate the vandalism.
The mural is one part of a $500,000, 26-block community improvement project on the city's east side.
About $125,000 is being used for beautification projects, including the mural. The balance will help fund housing revitalization.
The project was officially begun on Aug. 31 and was dedicated Sept. 16. Designed by Martin Moreno, an Adrian native and Siena Heights University graduate, the mural was the result of several community meetings where residents offered ideas.
Those who attended the final community meeting unanimously approved the design. Residents, under Mr. Moreno's direction, helped paint the wall.
The mural, titled “Power of Humanity,” was the first of Mr. Moreno's more than 250 projects across the country ever to be vandalized.
Karol Bolton has lived on Adrian's east side for the past 26 years. President of the East Side Community Coalition, Ms. Bolton said a local artist will be working to cover the black spray paint as early as today.
The coalition was formed in 1995 to improve the community. And the graffiti is just one setback in a neighborhood where many positive things have happened over the last year, she said.
“I think we've been pretty successful,” she said. “This project really brought people together and now they're very disappointed that this happened.”