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Renovated skate park vandalized despite upgrades

Savikko Park building also spray-painted with graffiti Sunday

Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ongoing attempts to revitalize Juneau's skate park hit a small snag Sunday morning when authorities discovered fresh graffiti spray-painted throughout the newly renovated park.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The Pipeline Skate Park was closed for repairs during January and most of February as the city spent nearly $30,000 fixing existing structures such as ramps and sidewalks. Security cameras also were installed to prevent the frequency of vandalism that the park has become known for recently.

The vandalism, causing about $200 in damage, occurred at about 11 a.m. Sunday morning and consisted of vulgarities and images spray-painted on walls inside and outside of the skate park building.

"It's disappointing," said Juneau Police Department spokeswoman Cindee Brown-Mills, who also is a member of Friends of the Pipeline Skate Park, a newly formed advocate group. "This is exactly the thing we're trying to avoid by cleaning up the skate park."

Earlier that day, an outbuilding at Savikko Park in Douglas also was vandalized with spray- paint. Brown-Mills said it is unlikely the incidents were connected because the graffiti at the two locations don't match. Police will review the skate park's surveillance footage for leads. As of press time the footage had not been reviewed.

City Parks and Recreation Director Marc Matsil said his office will clean up all the graffiti once weather permits. Currently there's too much moisture for a fresh coat of paint to dry, he said.

"Generally we remove it immediately, but we're dealing with cold, wet weather," he said. Matsil called the incident "pretty awful" because cleanup efforts cost city and taxpayer dollars.

Jordan Kendall, a skateboarder for about nine years and a member of Friends of the Pipeline Skate Park, said the constant cleanup effort is "frustrating."

"You can only do so much, but you can't always physically be there," he said. "Security cameras are there for that reason."

The skate park's advocacy group held a skate clinic in February to celebrate its grand re-opening and Kendall is hopeful that future events will continue to gain community support, and perhaps put a stop to the unsightly vandalism. One project includes painting murals throughout the park.

"The skate park needs more vibrancy, not such bland colors," he said.

The park is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Anyone with information regarding the vandalism at either park is encouraged to call JPD at 586-0600 or the Juneau Crime Line at 586-4243.

• Charles L. Westmoreland can be reached at charles.westmoreland@juneauempire.com or at 523-2265.



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