The skate park at Carrie Blake Park in Sequim has been closed due to graffiti and littering and is projected to be closed until the end of January. This is the second time within the past three months that the city Public Works Department has locked up the park due to vandalism. The first time was in November.
According to public works director Jim Bay, the skate park was built to put an end to skateboarders putting up makeshift jumps in the middle of the street and leaving them there. Working alongside youths and parents, Bay was able to raise enough funding for the park’s creation.
“I wanted the kids to have someplace safe to go,” Bay said.
But, according to Jeff Edwards of public works, the department spends more time cleaning up the skate park then any other section of Carrie Blake Park. Patrons of the skate park have repeatedly left trash scattered despite four trash cans, and most recently graffiti appeared that Bay describes as “filthy and vulgar.”
“I won’t tolerate that. There are parents and little kids out there,” Bay said.
Bay plans to reopen the skate park at the end of the month. He says he has no plans to close the skate park indefinitely and still sees it as a positive place for young people to go.
“I don’t know who did this. If I did, they’d be out there painting right now,” Bay said.
Vandalism in Sequim has seen a recent increase, from graffiti to stolen mailboxes. Recently the police department received several reports from the school reporting an increase in graffiti.
“There’s no reason. We don’t know why they would be rebelling,” said Maris Turner, the Sequim Police Department’s community resource officer. “But it doesn’t seem to be gang-related yet.” Rather, Turner attributes the spike to teenage boredom.
According to Turner, acts of vandalism need to be reported immediately, even if the perpetrator is unknown. The reports over time will start to show crime trends that the police can work from. Turner also stresses that any graffiti needs to be cleaned up immediately. In 2007, Sequim’s city council passed an ordinance that requires property owners to clean up or paint over graffiti within 15 days of receiving a notice from public works.