Police have had to resort to periodically shutting down Staoughton's skate park, located next to the O’Donnell Middle School, due to several problems, including vandalism, graffiti, fights and marijuana use.
Police have had to resort to periodically shutting down Staoughton's skate park, located next to the O’Donnell Middle School, due to several problems, including vandalism, graffiti, fights and marijuana use. “We’ve had a little bit of everything,” said Acting Chief Thomas Murphy. Murphy said police have been monitoring the park daily and have closed it some days after youth have misbehaved. He said he appealed to parents last spring to talk to their children about the park use, but the situation hasn’t improved. “We didn’t get a response,” he said. A group of teens from Stoughton Youth Commission helped to clean up the skate park in early May, as part of a community service program called “Pride of Stoughton. They painted and repaired the ramps, removed graffiti and picked up a lot of trash, their adviser, Melissa Barbosa said. Barbosa said the group found a lot of trash at the park, including papers that are used for rolling marijuana. She added that the kids worried that the park would be defaced again and ruin their hard work. ‘They really wanted it to be kept clean,” she said. Kids using the park said they helped to pick up trash, but other people keep trashing it. Mike Bono, who regularly uses the park, said he and other kids, as well as some parents, pick up the trash when they can. He added that if the skate park closes, the kids would resort to skating in the street, which he thinks is more dangerous. “This (the skating park) is definitely a good thing,” he said. Murphy said the town has no plans to close the park, but he remains concerned. He said it would be shame if the park closed because those same kids would have idle time on their hands. Murphy said the skate park is dear to his heart, as well as the whole department, because it was built in honor of a Stoughton police officer, William O’Connell, who died of brain cancer at age 52. He also said he is concerned that kids are not wearing helmets, and doesn’t want to see anyone have a bad accident that could have been prevented. “When parents drop them off, they should make sure they have helmets, and remind them to pick up the trash,” he said. For now, Murphy continues to ask that residents show more respect for the park, and contact him if they have any questions.
Stoughton Journal writer Candace Hall can be reached at email@example.com