Underpass Mural Painted by Rolling Meadows High School Students Vandalized with Spray Paint

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Sadness and disappointment are being expressed by Rolling Meadows Park District officials in the wake of major vandalism at the new Kirchoff Road Underpass Mural.

Red and green spray paint with various words and symbols were discovered Friday, September 23 spanning the entire 92-foot wall.

Located along the Salt Creek bike path connecting to Kimball Hill Park, the mural was a joint project with the Rolling Meadows High School Art Club and Rolling Meadows Park District. From April through June, art club students committed their Saturdays and portions of their summer break to complete the mural, which transformed the dark, discolored underpass into a bright, vibrant scene for cyclists, walkers, runners and in-line skaters to enjoy as they made their way to Kimball Hill Park. As part of the project, the Park District's Parks Department power washed and filled the wall, installed new lighting and brightened the railing along Salt Creek with a fresh coat of paint.

“That someone would want to destroy this newly painted work of art that in a short time, brought joy to so many is devastating,” said Executive Director Kevin Romejko. “The mural meant a great deal not only to the Park District, but to the talented students who worked so hard painting it and to our community as a whole.” Designed, drawn and painted by students, the mural depicts recreational activities in all four seasons and highlights the Park District's Vision and tagline “Play Learn Grow.” Few details of the mural, from a panel showing a child fishing at Kimball Hill Park, to twinkling lights shining above an ice skater and another panel celebrating the Park District's inclusivity, were left untouched by the vandalism.

“They hit every part of the mural,” Romejko said. “While we are heartbroken to see something like this happen to such a wonderful project, we are trying to focus less on anger and more on finding out who did this and what the next steps might be in terms of repair.”

Rolling Meadows Park District Safety Coordinator Dominic Calderisi said the Park District is working closely with the Rolling Meadows Police Department to investigate the vandalism.

“It's a shame this individual or group would cause such harm to the community and be so careless toward the hard work and talent of others striving to make the community better,” Calderisi said. “It would be helpful if whoever did this could realize the hurt they've caused and come forward.”

Rolling Meadows Park District was recently selected for a Best of the Best Award in the Arts in the Park category from the Illinois Association of Park Districts for its work with Rolling Meadows High School on the mural project.

Anyone with information on the vandalism can call the Rolling Meadows Police Department at 847-255-2416 or the Rolling Meadows Park District at 847-818-3200.