Graffiti removed, BREC skate park set to reopen once rain stops _lowres

Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- BREC's Perkins Road Community Park's skate ramps closed after someone sprayed graffiti there Sunday, Dec. 20.

A group of dedicated skateboarders braved Monday night’s downpours to clean graffiti off of a ramp at the BREC Extreme Sports skate park on Perkins Road where they usually practice tricks.

The skate park will reopen once rain stops and the water dries off the concrete where skateboarders ride. BREC officials announced Monday that the skate park would remain closed until someone stepped forward to clean up red paint that spelled the word “chap” on a skate ramp.

“The response from our patrons to assist in the cleanup was overwhelming and showed that they understand what BREC has created at Perkins Road Community Park,” Chad Brewer, BREC’s assistant communications director, said in a statement.

The park was quiet and nearly empty Tuesday morning, with puddles of water pooling in low areas. No sign of the graffiti was visible.

Though the people who cleaned off the paint were good Samaritans, the culprit who painted the ramp still has not come forward. BREC officials said Monday they were hoping he would offer to clean the graffiti, but since he did not, they are likely to press charges against him once he is identified.

BREC’s hard-line stance on closing the skate park until someone removed the graffiti drew mixed reactions from the general public.

On the park system’s Facebook page, some questioned why BREC officials appeared to be punishing the people who followed the rules because of the actions of another, particularly given that taxpayers fund BREC. Others applauded their decision to force skateboarders to take ownership of the place where they hang out.

BREC officials said their response to the graffiti was meant to prevent future incidents like the one this week from happening. They said the park has been vandalized only two other times in its five-year history.

“While graffiti is part of the culture, it doesn’t have a place on our skate park,” said Jason Hoggatt, BREC’s special facilities manager for extreme sports, on Monday. “This is just somebody trying to aggravate or irritate the regulars or park system. The people who come here every day and respect it and enjoy it, they don’t do stuff like this.”