Friday, November 24

Skate Park Covered with Graffiti

On this blustery day after Thanksgiving, I took a long bike ride instead of fighting shoppers. I know, I know, I am not doing much to help our consumer driven economy. However, I had much turkey that needed to be worked off.

During the workout, I rode by our municipal concussion generator. I was surprised to see that most of the park is covered with graffiti. Examples of all this spray-paint artistry are displayed on this post.

Now, the city is very quick to notify property owners that they only have 72 hours to remove graffiti on their property. If not, the city will remove it for the property owner at $200 per hour.

These paintings look like they have been up for a lot longer than three days. I would guess that the pumpkin display above has been up since before Halloween. Other paintings have been up for so long that they are beginning to fade.

I am assuming that the city just doesn't know about it; otherwise they would be following their own regulations, right? Right. And if you believe that, come see me about some beachfront property in Kansas. Unfortunately, the city is damned either way here. Either they are not following their own regs or they are not paying attention to their own facilities.

The city needs to clean up this mess.


Dona Stebbins said...

Aaron, you must have missed Tuesday's action packed City Commission meeting on Channel 7 :)
The skate park grafitti was prominently featured, including photos.
The City cleaned the last "artwork" off in September, but there is nothing like giving the little demons a blank canvas. Park and Rec was instructed to rectify the situation ASAP.
If anyone in blogland has ideas as to how to keep the miscreants from defacing it again and again, let me know.
Perhaps we should just lock it up.

Anonymous said...

What? Chaos at the Skate park? This comes as no great surprise.

Go to for help.

And consider holding Neighborhood Council 7 public meetings in the skate park warming house. Invite the skaters. Invite the vagrants. Have an art contest.

WolfPack said...


How about catching a few of the artists and locking them up? Could we turn the cameras into web cam's on the city's web site so citizens could monitor them and help notify the police? This might also be helpful for parents that want to keep an eye on there children.

Dona Stebbins said...

Wolfpack, another approach that has been suggested is "self-policing." Fence the skatepark securely, and if vandalism occurs, make it off limits, locked up tight, for several days. Kids who want access to the park will prevent others from abusing it.
What do you think? I don't know if locking them up will do any good. Chances are they have already seen the interior of the Juvenile Detention Facility anyway...

WolfPack said...


I don’t necessarily agree that the kids doing this wouldn’t benefit from getting caught. Spray painting concrete is within the envelope of normal teenage rebellion. Arrest would give their parents an opportunity to help refocus their child’s artistic urges. The fence idea might work but I’ve always disliked punishments that cast a net over innocent bystanders in order to net a few guilty offenders.

Anonymous said...

Hello Honorable Mayor Stebbins:

For your peacekeeping needs at the skate park, consider contacting Blackwater USA @

May Great Falls enjoy a peaceful and safe Christmas season.

ZenPanda said...

anon#1 - I think having a meeting near the skate park is a good idea. But does the city own the building there?

Dona- the Trib mentioned that painting over the graffiti is not a good surface to skate on but is the art work a problem for skaters?

I think the die-hard skaters would like being the ones to police themselves but there has to be leadership among them. Is there anyway to get them to organize? Building a fence may not get the effect we seek.

Dona Stebbins said...

I an still gathering information, suggestions and so on. There are always more problems that solutions, I guess.
Many skateparks just leave the graffiti - not the best solution here, since there are rascist slurs and bad language.
Keep the suggestions coming - maybe there is a magic bullet out there someplace:)

Treasure State Jew said...

There are a few things that should be considered here.

First, the city is very proactive in requiring landowners to clean up graffiti within 72 hours. Shouldn't the city be held to the same standard? If graffiti is a gateway to gang activity (the rationale behind fining landowners if they don't get it removed within 3 days), isn't the graffiti at the skate park creating that gateway?

Next, I find it objectionable that the city didn't have a plan in place from the beginning about what to do with graffiti at the skate park. It doesn't take a genius to predict that kids will spray paint a skate park; I mean, just look at every skate park in the country!

Dona, the city should be held to the same standard as every other landowner. If the city finds it unmanageable to deal with the problems generated by assets built by the city, then maybe there should be more public discussion before future assets are built.

I know that you inherited a problem you did not create. However, you did want to be mayor!

a-fire-fly said...

Can you tell me if the cameras and lights at the park are operational? And if not, how long they have been down?

Dona Stebbins said...

I read your blog this morning and will call it to the attention of the City Manager and Park and Rec. I don't know about the cameras, but I will find out.
There has to be a solution and I think the discussions that are happening throughout the city will provide it.
I thank all of you for your interest in this, particularly since I don't think any of you are skateboarders:)
Keep the input coming!

a-fire-fly said...

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

The City Manager of Great Falls has the legal authority to act on this problem now. Why doesn't he?

a-fire-fly said...

Do you have any suggestions as to what the City Manager is supposed to do anon?

Anonymous said...

The City also has regs. on snow removal. Does the City hold itself to the same standard? I noticed the walk on the north side of Water Tower Park could use a visit by Park & Rec. It has been over a week since that snow fell there.