By Lloyd Maple
Special to Independent Newsmedia
With the summer heat climbing and monsoon season ready to spew water and dust, the Sun City walls project is in siesta mode.
As 99th Avenue from Olive Avenue on the south end of Sun City to Beardsley Road — about seven miles — on the north end, Bell Road from the east to the west end and many other areas throughout Sun City now all painted, Sun City Residents Action Program officials decided to take the summer off from painting more walls. They plan to resume in the fall when it is cooler and finish this project.
Originally, it was projected to take 10 years and $250,000 — and that was to only repaint walls that were previously painted, according to Steve Puck, SCRAP member. There are about 18-20 more miles of unpainted walls in Sun City and SCRAP members intend to leave them that way, he added.
“The walls along Olive Avenue were mostly unpainted; however, there were so much graffiti and even a 10-foot section was painted a muted pink,” Mr. Puck said. “We felt Olive would look so much better painted, and it does indeed look better.”
It cost about $200,000 to paint the walls 18 years ago and when inflation is taken into account, SCRAP’s estimate of $250,000 was accurate, according to Ritchie Miller, SCRAP treasurer.
“We are way ahead of our original projected time table and under budget as we have spent only about $130,000 so far with only about three miles of walls left to do,” Mr. Miller said. “We should get the job done for about $165,000, not $250,000. There have been a lot of negotiations to make this happen.”
There are enough funds to resume and get started painting again in the fall. However, SCRAP needs about $20,000 to finish painting the remaining walls, according to Mr. Miller.
“This brings us to where we ask, once again, for your financial help in getting the final few miles of walls painted,” Mr. Miller said. “If you can help, we could really use additional funds now.”
Donation payable to SCRAP can be sent to SCHOA, 10401 W. Coggins Drive, Sun City, AZ 85351. SCRAP is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so all donations can be tax deductible, Mr. Miller explained.
About 14 miles of walls have received a fresh coat of paint in the last two years, according to Mr. Puck. When the last three miles of walls are painted, SCRAP will have seen that more than 17 miles of walls received a bright new look, he added.
“So many people have commented on how well the walls are looking,” Mr. Puck said. “The last time they were painted was 18 years ago in the year 2000 for the Centennial. After being neglected for the last few years, they were beginning to look pretty shabby.”
Donations have been the key to getting the walls painted, according to Mr. Miller.
“We have received some $13,000 from individuals that cared enough to send in money to see that this project move ahead,” he said. “We are very fortunate in Sun City to have several social, civic organizations and businesses who also care enough to pitch in with funding, as well as providing actual labor to see these walls get painted.”
Editor’s Note: Mr. Maple is SCRAP board president.