Just like a Neighborhood Watch, where everyone who lives there keeps an eye out for trouble, the same philosophy needs to be adopted for our Greenway.
The other morning I was on one of my early morning runs and discovered some offensive words and symbols on the Greenway. I was disgusted, to say the least. Not so much for me, but my thoughts went to the mothers who would soon be on the Greenway with their young children who would have to explain it. It did not matter that the “art” was done in chalk; there was no rain forecast for several days, so the images had to be removed manually.
Then there are the spray can-happy painters who think people actually enjoy the messages they scrawl on the underpasses and other areas. Several weeks ago someone took to the new restroom with gold spray paint, marking the walls and fixtures. Thanks to the quick work of our Parks and Recreation staff they had the restroom back in presentable fashion by later that morning.
For some reason, a few individuals have it in their head that wet cement is an invitation to carve names, symbols or other messages for all to see. “Oh look, there’s some yellow caution tape blocking off a freshly poured section of the Greenway. That must mean it’s OK for us to scar FOREVER the work concrete finishers worked so hard to make perfect for our community.” Really?
A few days ago the last of the concrete portions of the latest phase of the Greenway were poured. Up to that day the several hundred feet of new Greenway and access paths had escaped the hands of the cement scrawlers. Out of curiosity, I hung around out of sight for a few minutes to see if there were some would-be artisans. I caught one young man who claimed he was, “Just seeing if it was still wet.” Yeah, right. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hang out there to police the area for much longer and, sure enough, a selfish individual scarred a perfect finish. This person has forced his or her handiwork on the rest of us for the life of the Greenway.
Finally, there are the bench destroyers. Wow. Here's a helpful asset for weary walkers and multiple times the benches have been tossed into Mouse Creek. The action essentially destroys the bench, cracking the joint between the seat and back. The other day Parks and Rec had to remove two benches that someone completely destroyed after they had been previously damaged.
I realize that the ones who need to hear this message are likely not reading this column, but hopefully by bringing it up it will reiterate the fact that 1) we need everyone to adopt a “neighborhood watch” attitude toward our Greenway, keeping an eye out for troublemakers and confronting them or calling authorities; and 2) the Parks and Recreation staff are eager to rectify anything that happens when it is reported to them. I’d like to publicly thank them for their diligence.
It is unfortunate that a tiny handful of persons do not respect this wonderful asset to our community, but that should not deter us from enjoying the positive progress and benefits our Greenway provides.