Unfortunately, for every 100 people who love, appreciate and take care of our Greenway, there is one person who disrespects it and believes that destruction or defacing items or amenities along our four-mile linear park is a right — or right of passage.
Our Cleveland Parks and Recreation Department gets calls about destructive acts on our Greenway almost weekly. I will not name everything that has taken place through the years, but suffice it to say, most times the destruction is not accidental.
It’s sad to say, but we have some real cowards (I can think of harsher names, but coward will have to do) in our community who feel that vandalizing or destroying something is permissible. I can’t count how many of our benches have been destroyed because someone — or group — thinks it’s cute to toss them in the creek.
I say group because it takes more than one person to do that. The three restrooms on the Greenway have all been vandalized numerous times, either through spray-painting obscenities on the hardware or tearing soap dispensers from the wall. Within 24 hours of the opening of the restroom at Raider Drive Park, someone decided slamming the door against the wall so hard that it destroyed the handle must have been some kind of necessary initiation.
The light poles have seen their share of cowardly destruction as well, with numerous globes shattered and even some poles pulled completely over. The underpass lamps have been smashed and a couple of the hanging banners have disappeared as well.
I’ve been writing this column for 3 1/2 years and I think this is the first time I have penned comments aimed at the scoundrels who rob the rest of us of a perfect place to relax, exercise and fellowship. If you feel the same way, we all need your help in forming an informal “Greenway Watch.” Like a Neighborhood Watch, police surveillance won’t always catch the culprits, but a vigilant group of concerned citizens who commit to fight unacceptable practices makes for a safer, more enjoyable and, yes, less destroyed environment.
OK, I’ve had my rant. But I hope everyone who reads this takes it to heart. There are a lot of acts of destruction that take place and within hours the damage is totally repaired or replaced, thanks to the diligence of the staff in Parks and Rec. However, their time should be spent on mowing grass, planting trees or simply maintaining equipment — not replacing it.
I love our Greenway and it has become such a part of my life that when I see it damaged, I take it as if it were on my personal property. Let’s all take ownership and bring that same spirit to ridding our Greenway of the riffraff.
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