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Officials Hope Teens Will Respect Skate Park Rules

Windsor Locks Skate Park should reopen Monday after repairs were made because of vandalism.

 

After being closed for a week due to vandalism, the Windsor Locks Skate Park should be open again on Monday.

Dave Wrabel, Windsor Locks Director of Parks and Recreation, said there had been a few incidents of vandalism during recent months, including graffiti sprayed on the back wall of one of the ramps. Someone had also destroyed school property by taking a wood beam from the guardrails and using it in the park to grind on with their skateboards. (The skate park is located behind Windsor Locks High School.)

Then earlier this month, fencing at the top of a ramp was destroyed, again to use for grinding and the safety bar from the bottom of the fence was pulled off. Wrabel said there is a drop-off at the back of the ramp, so without a fence someone could fall off the high part of the ramp wall.

“We closed the park for a week to allow repairs to be made and to send a message,” he said.

A sign was posted at the park stating that it was closed due to vandalism and if it continued more closures would come.

The park will be re-opened on Monday after school. “Hopefully there will be no further vandalism and we will be able to keep it open,” Wrabel said.

Wrabel said he did talk to some kids who were disappointed it was closed, especially with the week’s nice weather, but that the majority of them seemed to understand why it was closed.

First Selectman Steven Wawruck said Wrabel had notified him of the vandalism when it was discovered and they met with police and public works officials to discuss the issue. They decided to close the park for a week.

“The vandalism has been escalating and we couldn’t keep it open with the safety bar removed,” Wawruck said. “We need to send a message that we will not condone the continued abuse of property.”

He said it was unfortunate because it is a great facility for the kids to burn off energy and hang out with friends.

Scott Lappen, Director of the Windsor Locks Public Works Department, said his department was able to straighten out and reattach the bottom rail to the safety fence at the top of the ramp. He estimated it is about a 5-foot drop off the back of the ramp. They also painted over the graffiti on the back wall.

The piece of wood from the school guardrail had been removed previously and the school maintenance department was able to fix that as well.

“A lot of time and effort was put into building that park and getting open,” Lappen said. “It would be nice to see the kids appreciate it and not vandalize it.”

Wawruck said there has been discussion of installing video cameras. He said in the past, after complaints at the town basketball court about fighting, the police had a officer stationed there, but that was cost prohibitive, so then cameras were installed.

The topic of video cameras being installed was discussed at the March 14 Police Commission meeting as well, but no final decision has been made. The police department said regular patrols pass through the area by the skate park and around the high school.

Erin March 20, 2012 at 01:09 PM
I understand the issue about physical property being damaged, but as far as graffiti goes... as long as there is no profanity, is it really vandalism? Graffiti art goes hand-in-hand with the skateboarding culture. Art museums exhibit it. Many communities have municipal skateparks that embrace graffiti...even host contests. I say hand the skaters a can and let them go to town. It's THEIR park.
Maria Giannuzzi March 20, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Sometimes graffiti can be considered art. But the skateboard park does not belong to the skaters. It is not "their" park. It was paid for by Windsor Locks taxpayers and thus belongs to all the residents of the town.

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