CANTON — City officials plan to address swastikas and other graffiti inscribed on two city sidewalks.
It's unclear when the markings were made along the public corridor in the 3800 block of Cleveland Avenue NW.
Employees at the Marathon/BellStores, 3812 Cleveland Ave. NW, were surprised anyone noticed, saying the swastika on the sidewalk in front of their business has been there for nearly two years. But the owners of Mitzi's Hair & Nail Salon and the New Southern Belle stores next door said Friday was the first time they saw the swastika carved into the sidewalk in front of their businesses.
City Engineer Dan Moeglin said he plans to have it removed "so that stuff doesn't appear in the city of Canton."
Moeglin learned of the swastika and other graffiti, which include the words "send nudes" and a drawing of male genitalia, on Thursday when someone called his office to see whether anything could be done about it.
"It's not deep into the concrete," Moeglin said. When it was created, the concrete was likely wet and, "They scored the top of the concrete."
He notified the city street department and asked for the carvings to be buffed out Friday afternoon or evening.
"I'm hoping this can be cleaned up and we can make it go away," he said.
Moeglin said one of his first jobs as an engineer was alongside a senior engineer who had served in World War II. The man had served in one of the first battalions to free concentration camp prisoners.
"He told me bits and pieces about the horror of it all," Moeglin said. "That was a fellow that had been there, firsthand."
And to see a swastika carved into a Canton city sidewalk, "it's certainly something we have no patience for," Moeglin said.
Canton police took a report about the damaged sidewalk.
Acting Chief Capt. Dave Davis said the carvings amount to a criminal offense of vandalism.
Some business owners said they didn't know about the existence of the swastikas or the other graffiti until a newspaper reporter inquired about it on Friday.
"That's never been there before," said Barbara Dykes, who owns the New Southern Belle. She and Victoria Dykes said they've been open about two years and have frequently crossed the street in front of their business, never seeing the carving.
Salon owner Mitzi Wollam, too, believes the damage is fresh.
"I'm out here a lot and I've never seen that," she said. "Something needs to be done about that."
Brian White, owner of White's Auto Body & Paint at 3822 Cleveland Ave. and owner of the building from which the women's businesses operate, said he also had never noticed the damage.
"I'm out there pulling weeds all the time," he said.
White surmised that juvenile delinquents likely carved into the cement when it was wet.