And it’s having the same effect on some of the skaters who say they want their park kept clean also.
“The vandalism isn’t us,” said Raven Ybanez, one of the skaters at the park Friday. “It is the people that just go over there and sit down.”
She doesn’t like the profane writing on the tables and walls of the park and she and her friends aren’t afraid to protect what is theirs.
She added that the park isn’t just used by skaters. The skaters, she said, are on the ramps most of the time.
The problems, she speculated, are being caused by those who just come to the park to hang out.
Henry Flores, 16, shared her opinion.
“Whenever they made the park, they wanted to keep us out of trouble,” the skater said.
“Everyone here gets mad if they see someone writing on something.”
Recently police were called to the park because of profanity and other writing covering the concrete tables at the park.
The tables, near where the new skate ramp was built, have since been cleaned.
Someone had also used a heavy object to crack the coating on one table top and damage the concrete.
City crews were able to clean up much of the mess but the instance has left a bad taste in the mouths of many residents – and yes, that includes the youths out there enjoying the skate park.
“We know who did some of it and we told them to stop,” Flores said. “Anyone could come here and vandalize the place. Most of us, we don’t want to bring trouble here.”
Flores said that without the park, he and the others would be back on the street.
“My mom likes that I am out of trouble and not on the streets where a car could hit me.”
Eddie Dominguez is a regular at the park but not as a skater. He is just a spectator watching his four boys play on the ramps.
“Every time I get them for the weekend, we are out here — Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he said relaxing on a concrete bench near the ramps. “They cannot get enough of it.”
His sons have also heard about the vandalism.
“My son talked to a lot of the other skaters and they are upset over the vandalism,” he said.
Some of those at the park have even taken it upon themselves to help out by picking up trash.
“My son told me that one of the skaters said, ‘I am going to start cleaning up because I don’t want them shutting it down because of this.’”
Dominguez said that he is impressed with the camaraderie he sees among these youths at the park.
“There was a lot of bad publicity for the kids who are skating,” he said.
But he sees youths helping each other up when they fall and teaching each other new tricks.
“They all have something in common and they help each other out,” he said.
The park is a safe haven for these skaters.
“We don’t want to bring trouble upon us.”
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.