Letter: Vandals damage newly installed benches downtown

Published 10:36 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Freeborn County Arts Initiative sponsored a beautification project/fundraiser that was featured in Sunday’s Tribune. On Saturday morning, Joe Grossman and his crew placed eight benches decorated by local artists on North Broadway in front of the Marion Ross theater, the farmers market parking lot, the American Legion and Fountain Lake Park, and for a few hours, these colorful and creative pieces delighted downtown visitors. This project, which was funded by a grant, represented months of cooperation and effort by local artists and city workers, and it was hoped that, after their initial showing, the FCAI could sell the benches. 

By Monday morning, however, skateboarders had significantly damaged four of the benches. Even though taxpayers have provided skaters with a free skateboard park on the north side and miles of sidewalks, curbing and streets all over town, they have chosen vandalism over common sense and courtesy by destroying private property. A police report has been filed.

A quick internet search reveals that this type of damage to public or private property by skateboarders is so widespread that products such as Skate Stoppers and Grinderminders have been invented to discourage or deter them. At a time when resources are so limited, why would a few thugs choose to ruin some brand new and attractive benches that might otherwise have been enjoyed for many years by the majority? There is no answer that makes any sense.

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Joan Claire Graham

Albert Lea