The cleanup from the riots in Denver isn't going quickly... or cheaply

We’ve spent plenty of time over the past month or two looking at the seemingly endless series of riots consuming many of the nation’s larger cities. While the violence, injuries, assaults and even deaths capture many of the headlines, the staggering amount of property damage taking place is also a part of the equation. The question is, what do these cities do in the aftermath when downtown storefront windows have all been replaced with graffiti-covered plywood sheets, walls and roads are festooned with paint and lights, statues and other public property has been destroyed? That’s a problem that the City of Denver has been wrestling with for quite a while now.

When the worst of the riots first broke out in the Mile High City, the community and the government teamed up to try to keep up with repairs. They no doubt hoped that the worst of the rioting would fade quickly and order would be restored. That hasn’t happened, however. Cleanup efforts have been stymied by repeating offenses and the costs have been spiraling out of control. (CBS Denver)

Repairs to the state Capitol in Denver began Monday after weeks of protests and demonstrations. Broken windows, graffiti, and vandalism are among the damage to the state Capitol building, surrounding buildings in the complex, parks and monuments.

The plan to make repairs and cleanup has been revised several times as the damage worsened over the weeks. The cost to make the repairs is expected to top $1 million and change as the cleanup continues.

Crews are experimenting with different chemicals and lasers to remove the graffiti.

“We have been addressing these issues since day one as they have arisen, but unfortunately, those efforts have largely gone unnoticed as vandalism continued every day for weeks,” said DPA Executive Director Kara Veitch in a statement.

This brief coverage from the local CBS News outlet provides some stunning visuals showing the magnitude of the task they’re trying – and failing – to tackle.

In late May and early June, when the real rioting was just beginning to kick into gear, groups of citizen volunteers were out in the streets the morning after the damage took place, picking up trash, attempting to wash away paint and helping to board up windows. This short bit of coverage from The Denver Channel back on June 1st shows a more hopeful time when neighbors were out there with trash bags, rags and spray bottles, attempting to put their city back together.

Sadly, as the days and weeks rolled on, the nightly damage became worse rather than better. The rioters spread out into different parts of the city, always looking for more stores to loot, more windows to smash and clean walls to scrawl on with their seemingly endless supply of cans of spray paint. Slowly, the neighbors interested in saving the city appeared to give up in despair. They no longer showed up in the morning to assist with the cleanup efforts. What was the point? It was all just going to be vandalized again the following night.

Now, more than a month later, the city has put up fending around the state Capitol to protect workers from the mob during the cleanup. They are “experimenting” with different types of chemicals and even lasers to remove the paint from the granite walls of some of the city’s historic buildings. An emergency fund from the Office of the State Architect was able to provide $245,000 for ongoing cleanup efforts, but those funds quickly ran dry. The city’s Risk Management Property Fund put up another $525,000 to keep the work on track, but the total bill is now estimated to be over one million dollars. And that’s only if the nightly attacks end in the near future.

Denver is quickly starting to look like a slum, if not a war zone. There are not unlimited resources to restore the streets to how they’re supposed to look if the rioters and vandals continue to wreak havoc every single night. What we’re seeing is another formerly proud city being turned into a wasteland by these so-called “protesters” and Denver’s elected officials appear to be powerless to restore order. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as the saying goes. They’re going to need to look for alternate options soon or Denver will quickly turn into another casualty in the ongoing war against the anarchists.

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