The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District eXtreme Scene Skate Park is back in business now after park district crews closed the park the week of April 3 after removing graffiti from the skate areas.
Doug Boehm, superintendent of parks and planning, said the repaint operation was the seventh time this spring park district employees have been at the skate park because it was hit by taggers. That seventh time was one too many for Boehm.
“Usually when something like this happens the best thing to do is paint it, close it for a couple of days and everyone take a deep breath and slow down the pressure and try to get people to understand this is a service provided and we need them to appreciate it and keep an eye on it,” Boehm said.
The past few years, there’s been little graffiti at the skate park on Harwood Avenue about a block south of 183rd Street, but this year “we have a new person or couple of people who think this is their fun,” Boehm said. The back wall of the park district garage adjacent to the skate area is full of graffiti, and Boehm is okay with that. “There’s some incredible art there; just don’t deface the place where everybody can see it.”
Boehm said people in the area adjacent to the skate park, and drivers passing by, don’t want to see graffiti.
The park district crews are doing the best they can to keep up with the taggers. One social media post suggested installing a camera. Boehm said that’s been used when there were problems at Apollo Park. It did reduce the problems, but without a clear image to help identify the troublemaker, the camera didn’t give the park district and police the information they needed to bring the person to justice.
“We can’t be there all the time, and the police certainly can’t be there all the time,” he said.
Boehm is hoping the troublemakers get the message because the park district crews are on to other outside work now that spring is here, such as preparing baseball fields and mowing.