AMHERST – The question for most people wasn’t if, but when.
That question was answered this week when the Amherst Lions Skate Park was spray painted with graffiti for the first time
The park opened a little over a year ago and Town of Amherst councilor, Robert Bird said, “It was kind of expected.”
“Teenagers and kids have always been teenagers and kids,” said Bird, who helped spearhead the campaign to get the park built. “We’re hoping that self-policing would limit (graffiti) but I think it would be optimistic to think we could totally eliminate it.”
Two areas were painted with graffiti, the half pipe and the peak of the park’s tallest ramp.
The spray-painted marks consisted of a few letters and illegible images.
They were quickly covered with grey paint Tuesday morning.
Bird said the skate park wasn’t built to accommodate graffiti.
“The skateboard (park) manufacturer that we selected to help us build that park, they put a lot of effort, as we did, into the design of the park, into making it geographically significant by using the red to represent the Bay of Fundy,” said Bird “It’s not designed to be a graffiti park, and the policy was, right at the start, that the graffiti will be covered up as quickly as possible. The experts on the subject of graffiti maintain that if you keep covering it up, then everybody will stop doing it.”
Some skaters using the park on Tuesday are glad the graffiti is covered.
Thirteen-year old Devin George said the graffiti made the park look ugly, and 13-year old Owen Wright said he has seen graffiti that requires real artistry, but added that the graffiti painted at the Lions Skate Park was, “just stupid.”
Bird said most of the users of that facility are responsible users of the park, “and hopefully their pride in the park will rub off on those who want to deface it.
“We’ve discussed this at length and, if necessary, we’ll do what we have to do to protect it,” he added. “If that means putting up cameras, then so be it.”
Ian Naylor, deputy chief of the Amherst Police Department, said no charges have been laid in the incident.
“We’re still investigating and following up some leads,” said Naylor. “There are people who know what happened and we’re taking steps to try to solve this.”
Naylor said spray painting graffiti is punishable by law, saying it’s considered Damage to Property under the criminal code.
“From what I see the people who use the park take great pride in it, and from what I’m told, it’s a very nice skate facility,” said Naylor. “Graffiti is frustrating for the people who take care of the park and the majority of the people who use the park.”