Critics of the city’s decision to spend $200,000 on a new skate park and many other costly improvements to Flournoy Park are sharing those or similar sentiments with anyone who will listen this week.
In Wednesday’s lead story, city officials were incensed about the graffiti covering the new picnic tables and walls in the new public restrooms at the attractive, renovated park in central Beeville.
“Have you seen what they did to our park?” City Manager Deborah Ballí asked last Friday morning.
The vandals are using permanent markers to write obscenities and other slogans on the table tops and benches, said city parks employee Gregory Gooch, who was trying to clean them from the view of families and visitors.
He and Assistant Police Chief Kenneth Jefferson were certain the damage was being done after dark, probably by someone using the skate park.
In this space just a few issues ago, we encouraged the skaters and their friends and families to make sure the sparkling, brand-new facilities are maintained, respected and kept clean of such filth.
Whether fair or not, the skaters are going to be blamed for any damage to this recreational attraction, which only has been open since Aug. 1.
Jefferson said graffiti has been a problem in every location where skaters have been welcomed. It always has been the main reason they’ve always been asked to leave, he added.
“That didn’t take long,” said Armando Musquez of the Coastal Bend Crime Stoppers. He added that the organization would be eager to offer a reward for information that could lead to an arrest of the vandals.
Police Chief Joe Treviño said he is committed to stopping more vandalism from occurring there. He hopes some adults, perhaps a neighborhood watch group or the skaters’ parents, will come forward and offer to volunteer to monitor the facilities.
Police officers plan to step up patrols around the park, but they cannot be there all the time. They are relying on the community to serve as eyes and ears to turn in these vandals. Contact the BPD or Crime Stoppers if you have any information on who is committing these crimes.
And remember: “You didn’t build that.” That phrase probably holds true for most of the skaters, park visitors and certainly the nitwits who are defacing the property.
The city’s taxpayers did. Now the latter may be wondering if this will turn out to be just another monument to government excess and waste.