ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Skate Park was closed for the first time ever because of ‘extensive and vulgar’ vandalism. The city said it had to take some time to get to the vandalism with slurry. This has caused some skaters to be frustrated at those damaging the skating area.
One Abilene skater, Scout Hargus, told KTAB/KRBC he’s been skating since the sixth grade, when he was trying to find an escape from everyone, and ended up finding a community that he views as family.
“I just kind of found a sense of community and family that I didn’t really find in other sports,” said Hargus.
Many days when he gets off work, going to the skate park is what he has to look forward to.
“We all love the place, so we try to take care of it as best as we can,” Hargus states.
When he sees graffiti at the park, Hargus said it frustrates him, but he says many people are wrongfully blaming the skaters.
Hargus continued, “Really, anybody who uses it doesn’t want to see it trashed or abused.”
Although vandalism has always been a problem in this area, the city closed down the park on July 11 for the first time ever to paint over an excessive amount of graffiti, which was discovered after a city event held at the skate park July 9.
“It was not as extensive, in the past, as it was yesterday when we closed it down,” Jesus Coronado, Parks Division Manager, explained. “There was a lot more graffiti done this time.”
Coronado told KTAB/KRBC the content of the graffiti was more vulgar than usual, alarming them because of the children’s park next to the skate park.
“It’s happened more often than not. This is probably the third or fourth time this year that we’ve had to cover up graffiti at this park,” Coronado included.
They are typically able to do this without shutting it down, but after a group vandalized the majority of the park in one night, Coronado said they had to shut it down because of the amount of slurry needed.
“We just want our facilities to look the best at all times,” Coronado pleaded.
Chris Lopez, another local skater, said if they have to power wash the graffiti off, it will erode the concrete, making it difficult to skate. He said most skaters are adults with good jobs, and they do their part to take care of the park.
Hargus said he wants people to be able to change their perception of skaters, saying, “There’s a few bad apples in any group, but that doesn’t mean that the whole group is the cause of an issue.”
The skate park has since reopened for skaters to use, but Coronado said if there is an extensive amount of vulgar graffiti again, they will have to shut it down again to cover it up.