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City council approves mural program

Posted at 7:41 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 00:20:53-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- The Tucson City Council approved a pilot program that will allow businesses to put mural art on traffic controller boxes. 

Supporters say the 12-month program will help beautify the community, and may prevent graffiti. The city spent more than $1 million on removing graffiti last year, with about 5,000 tags removed each month.

City leaders have been working with the Tucson Pima Arts Council (TPAC), the Tucson Department of Transportation. Earlier this month the city unveiled five dumpsters with artwork, and also plan on hiring artists to put more murals downtown.

"It improves the way everyone feels about their city," said Mary Ellen Wooten with TPAC. "We want it to be a vibrant interesting place."

Property owners will be able to select an artist and create a design. They will also need to get approval from the active neighborhood association and will have to pay for the cost of the project.

While critics say the art may be distracting, but Wooten says planners will help make sure the boxes are in a safe place. The city and the groups it's working with will have to give final approval of the plans.

Once the 12-month period is over, the city will asses the program.