Skate park graffiti quickly covered up by the Town of Amherst

Dave Mathieson
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Skateboarder Devin George skates past some grey-paint patchwork used to cover graffiti at the Amherst Lions Skate Park on Tuesday.

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.”

Organizations: Desktop/Skatepark, Amherst Police Department

Geographic location: Amherst, Amherst Lions Skate Park, Bay of Fundy

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Recent comments

  • Krys
    August 22, 2012 - 12:51

    Well, first of all... it doesn't really make sense that kids/teenagers even had a chance to graffiti @ the skate's not like Amherst is some kind of big city or something. Kind of makes me question the Amherst Police Department & other authorities abilities within the town. Second... Kids/teenagers should have a little more respect for the very little recreational activities or facilities that Amherst is willing to offer to the public. Third... Graffiti does go hand in hand with skate parks but should be presented in a respectable manner. If the town is goin to approve skate park graffiti, then a professional should be hired to do so... Or hey! Maybe, just maybe...the town could work with the public to organize something to get kids/teenagers involved in doing the graffiti themselves with supervision, of course. You know, if you offer more options & things to do within the community & make it available for everyone, then the town wouldn't have as much these juvenile incidents.

  • Amherst resident
    August 08, 2012 - 11:35

    I agree with Ann , Graffiti aside where is this child's helmet??...... and I also think there should be somewhere for these kids to display their "graffiti" .........we got the skate park and now I barely ever see skate boarders around town at places they aren't suppose to be, so maybe just maybe somewhere for the kids who like graffiti to show off the ability's would stop it from appearing all over town!

  • Christine
    August 02, 2012 - 20:25

    I agree with Dave why don't we allow the kids/teenagers/adults a space where they can display their art instead of telling them no or covering up. I disagree with anything that may be offensive but really its a great opportunity to have the "artists" display what they are proud of. Graffiti is really not much different then the murals we have up around town.....

  • Peggy
    August 02, 2012 - 09:24

    How about if we simply teach children not to deface ANYTHING, including downtown and parks. How about teaching them, for a change, that they don't have automatici entitlement to do EVERYTHING they get in their heads to do. Let's try saying "no" to a few things. It's not a sin or a stifling of creativity to have a few limits.

  • Ann
    August 02, 2012 - 09:04

    Graffiti aside, where is young George's helmet???

  • Steve form Amherst
    August 02, 2012 - 08:41

    I think cameras are a great idea, the town could put face plants on the town web site and U Tube and maybe make a few dollars for the next teen project, if they capture something that goes viral. If the presence of surveillance cameras deter the graffiti artists so much the better. IMHO as always

  • Dave
    August 02, 2012 - 07:39

    Skate parks are made for graffiti(ever look at the bottom of the boards?). Why not invite the users of the park to come down on a weekend and paint it (under supervision). Make a weekend party out of the event, for those without an artistic flare,provide stencils or have some local artists get involved to aid in the project. I've seen this sort of things in larger cities and once it was completed,looks very nice instead of a large dead gray piece of concrete. Or perhaps the town would rather the kids spray paint offensive graffiti on the sides of buildings downtown.