by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--They say, these acts of vandalism are making them look bad.
Skateboarders NewsWest 9 spoke to said the Ruben Pier Memorial Skate Park is the place to be, whether it's after school, on weekends, or pretty much anytime they just want to get away from it all. But having someone come in and cause $1,000 worth of damage isn't cool.
"It's not what we're about. We're just out here trying to have a good time," 19-year-old Jacobe Hightower, said.
As to be expected, park officials are upset over the recent attacks of vandalism on the new skate park. But nobody is as upset and the ones who've been waiting for years for it to get up and running.
According to Hightower, "It makes me feel pretty angry and a lot of other people I've talked to about it. Kids coming out here, tagging up stuff like that."
"It makes me mad. I wish I could come out here and watch with cameras or something and find out who it is," Skateboarder Jack Elliott, said.
As Parks and Recreation Director, Steve Patton explained unfortunately, the vandalism and graffiti goes with the territory, "I think it's just going to come along with having a skate park. We also got the same kind of graffiti at one of our other park sites. It's just part of the graffiti problem we have in the city as a whole."
Two parks in one night. Memorial Gardens on 42nd Street, also got hit with the same kind of tagging on Sunday night. But the skate park, is a sore spot, especially considering all the time and money that's gone into the project.
"The pride that I've got in the facility and as much as I care about everything we do in the park system, it's always disappointing to me to see something vandalized, or marked up, when we've spent so much time and effort," Patton said.
Now, park officials and skateboarders want to catch who's doing this and keep it from happening again.
"I would hold them down and call the cops, I guess, that's all I can do," Elliott said.
Patton added, "I'm asking for people's help, making sure the skateboarders that are out here, people that pass by, if there's problems, report them and help us keep an eye on everything that's out here. We've got a gem in our park system and we've got a gem in Odessa to be proud of."
Patton says he would like to organize a public meeting with local skateboarders and citizens, so they can talk and brainstorm and come up with some ideas to keep the new skate park clean and graffiti free.