DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — For years, Steve Whalen Boulevard near U.S. 35 has been repeatedly tagged with graffiti. Now, local artists are joining together to paint a massive mural of positive messages for the community.
2 NEWS first took a look at the work getting underway at the end of July when the wall was primed for art. Friday, we followed up with our promise to keep an eye on the mural’s progress.
Some of the kids working on the project are there because of court-ordered community service. Others are volunteers.
“Some are out here just by choice they just didn’t have anything else to do today,” said Brittini Long of the Montgomery County Juvenile Courts. “So rather than sit at home and play video games they can come out and beautify the city.”
But its more than just a message on the wall.. its a message to honor Dayton officer Steve Whalen who was gunned down on the job in 1991.
“He was definitely a community oriented officer. We talked with many people who worked with him in the past. And he was just the people’s officer,” said Long.
To create the special honor, the Montgomery County Court teamed up with the Dayton Police Department’s graffiti task force, allowing kids to work side by side with the officers and build relationships.
“Kids need things to keep them busy. And whatever we can do to offer that to them, and celebrate the good things they are doing in the community,” said Long.
The design is the work of an artist from ink and hammer. It’s being paid for by county grant money. Officials said they hope to hold an unveiling for the community, which will be planned at a later date.