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Vandals’ graffiti defaces renovated Flournoy Park
by Gary Kent
Aug 22, 2012 | 1989 views | 11 11 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — “Have you seen what they did to our park?” City Manager Deborah Ballí asked Friday morning.

She was talking about the graffiti that city parks employee Gregory Gooch was trying to clean up on the walls in the new public restrooms and on the new picnic tables at Flournoy Park.

It did not take long for vandals to start ruining something new for the rest of the community. It apparently started only days after the park was opened to the public.

Gooch was scrubbing the worst table in the park when Ballí and Assistant Police Chief Kenneth Jefferson arrived to assess the damage.

Gooch, a retired Merchant Marine captain who went to work for the city’s parks department, said he had been trying a variety of methods to clean up the messes left by park users.

He and Jefferson were sure the damage was being done after dark, probably by someone using the new $200,000 skate park.

So far, the skating facility has not been vandalized. But city officials are not sure how long it will take to target that as well.

The vandals are using permanent markers to write obscenities and other slogans on the table tops and benches, Gooch said.

At first, Gooch was using a strong cleaner to try to get the graffiti off the picnic tables. But the chemical was damaging the coating applied to the concrete table tops.

“We’re having to go back to the 1950s method,” Gooch said. “Ajax and elbow grease. This does work. It just takes a long time.”

Gooch was wetting the table and bench tops, sprinkling on some cleaner and then scrubbing the marks with a stiff brush.

“This is the worst spot,” Gooch said as he scrubbed. “All the tables have some.”

The park employee also pointed to a spot where someone had used a heavy object to crack the coating on one table top and damage the concrete.

Gooch had already cleaned off some of the writing in the walls inside the men’s room of the spanking new public restrooms. Some of the writing was slightly visible. But Gooch said most of the writing was bleaching out of the paint.

“You can’t photograph some of it,” he said. The language would not be printable in a family newspaper.

Ballí and Jefferson discussed several methods the city may have to use to stop the vandalism on a park that opened to the public only days ago.

Jefferson said police will definitely have to patrol the park to make sure no one is using it after the 10 p.m. closing time.

Ballí said the park may need to be fenced. It would be impossible for the city to hire someone to sit in the park all day and night and monitor activity there.

Jefferson said officers will have to warn those who violate the 10 p.m. closing time and, if they repeat the violation, fine them in municipal court.

Ballí added that if the problem persists, the city may by forced to simply bulldoze the improvements and return Flournoy Park to its original condition. That would leave the property a flat patch of ground with no real amenities.

That is exactly what the city did about 30 years ago when vandals damaged public restrooms at Kohler Park so often that the cost of repairs made it impossible for the city to maintain the facilities.

The restroom building was demolished, and Kohler Park has not had public restrooms since.

The restooms at Flournoy Park have steel gates on them so they can be locked at night. But vandals can do their work at any time before the gates are locked.

Critics of the city’s improvements at parks across town had warned that vandals could end up ruining the improvements for everyone.

Jefferson spoke to some of the skaters at the park Friday morning and reminded them that it would be up to them and their fellow skaters to police the park. If they cannot stop the vandalism, they may lose the facilities they fought so hard to see built.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
Comments
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laselva
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August 24, 2012
I don't particularly like graffiti but for some odd reason, like the popularity of tattoo's, it seems to be the "cool" thing to do. In the Mission District of San Francisco where my son lives, they've turned graffiti into an art form. Certain areas are designated for street art. Some of these artists have gotten pretty famous too.

Rather than lock the park down and add to the street battle; because that's what's going to happen-sneaking in over the fence and tagging will become a badge of honor. Get it out in the open and celebrate these kids spray painting skills; in designated spaces. I know this might sound like the opposite of what you'd prefer, but actually fund these paintings. To be recognized in your community as a talent; that's the "cool" thing to be.

I'm sorry if it sounds too liberal, but it's worked elsewhere. In fact some of these areas are actually tourist designations. Go figure.
luper14
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August 24, 2012
So sad that anyone who do such damage to our parks.
DubiousForever
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August 23, 2012
I don't know if you have looked around recently SP, but the local economy is booming. Jobs are plentiful and so is food. It is not so much a shambles as you would make it out to be. The REAL ENTITLEMENT bloodsuckers are the ultra-rich tax evaders that take money out of the system and hoard it in far-away places. As for why a few scoundrels are responding negatively, I would suggest that is in response to people like you taunting them. It was YOU that started the talk about the park being trashed even before it was built. Way to go SP, any more bright idea suggestions for them?

As for everyone else, enjoy and take care of your new park. It is a marking of a new kind of Beeville. And for the scoundrels, take note, you are being watched. Knock the crap off please, don't give people like SP the satisfaction.
Saltpork
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August 23, 2012
It is your world DF. I'm just passing through. I'm going to hang around long enough to see how it works out for Obama's kids.

See what that "Hope and Change" gets them. If I'm real lucky I'll see them HOPE they get a job or CHANGE their eatings habits. I've heard, but never tried it, that eating is a hard habit to break.

If I'm really, really lucky I'll stick around long enough to see them break that entitlement habit.

They got their $200,000.00 Skate Park. You tell me why they are trashing it with graffitti?
JerryMouse
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August 24, 2012
Myself, and many others said from the beginning that this type of thing would happen. We are dealing with a group of people that have a well known reputation for having no respect for anything. It is part of the reason businesses were running them off of their properties in the first place.

We decided to hand $200,000 to people that neither earned it nor would appreciate it.

There were numerous other projects that were both more worthy of city funds and of more benefit to the community, but this park got rammed through. Those of us with common sense made the case as to why it was a bad idea and nobody in our government listened.

This is a facility that should not have been built at the expense of tax payers and now we are reaping what we've sewn. Don't expect the vandalism to stop anytime soon.

I wonder how these kids treat their own homes.
DubiousForever
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August 23, 2012
Oh please Saltpork. If Beeville and it's inhabitant all suck so badly, WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE? It is your attitude, and people like you, that breeds contempt.
Saltpork
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August 23, 2012
Take off your rose colored glasses, put down the sheet music to Kumbaya while I give you a dose of realism.

These are the parents and kids you, and people like you, have created. They have no respect for public or private property.

I feel sorry for Mr. Gooch. He's going to be a busy man.

DubiousForever
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August 23, 2012
First of all, parents tell your children that this kind of behavior will only end up costing you money and putting a mark on their record over something that is just non-sense.

Second, for the "I Told You So'ers", your taunts and attitude is completely unproductive.

Third, for the community, it is time to take care of your own. If you see this activity, report it. Take a picture of the offenders with your cell phone.

Finally, it is time for all to understand that this is not the same old Beeville. Grow the hell up and knock the crap off. Perhaps someone with artistic experience can work with these young 'uns to make their graffiti art.

Any part of this y'all don't understand?

Dubious
JerryMouse
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August 23, 2012
I hate to say I told you so, but...

Awe hell, who am I kidding? I TOLD YOU SO!
Saltpork
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August 22, 2012
Seriously, what did you expect? You give them clean, freshly painted toilet walls and table tops they are going to write and carve trash on them.

I'm surprised it took them days. I expected it would only be a matter of hours. The Skate Park is a $200,000 taxpayer furnished blank canvas.

Perhaps the City Council could take turns policing the park on a 24 hour basis.
medic860
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August 23, 2012
You hit the nail on the head when you said it is a $200,000 taxpayer furnished blank canvas. The renovations were payed for by you, me, and all the residents of Beeville. We need to take ownership of it. The city council can manage it. City police can only do so much, along with the other duties assigned. We need volunteers to police the park.