COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Rick Woods is tired of vandals destroying the Park View Skate Park in Cookeville.
“It’s frustrating to see that people are just not taking pride and not enjoying and taking care of something they technically own,” he said. “It’s their park.”
Woods serves as the city’s director for the Department of Leisure Services and said over the last month, the skate park has been destroyed six times.
“This has just been senseless, repeated activity most recently that has caused us to make the determination that we need to close the park for awhile,” he said.
Woods said vandals have been destroying the restrooms by tearing stalls off the walls, destroying urinal dividers, and breaking toilets and sinks.
After consulting with city leaders and the police department, they decided to temporarily close the park last Friday, Sept. 29.
“I feel sad because it only takes one or two people to ruin it for the rest,” said Warren Janzen.
Up the street from the park is Janzen’s bicycle shop where he has met numerous people that utilize the park.
“Parents like it,” he said. “There are restrooms there. They can sit in the park and wait for the kids to ride for an hour. It gets the kids out the house and off the video games.”
Janzen believes more security could help curb the vandalism plaguing the park.
“If you go to a public swimming pool, there’s a lifeguard on duty,” he said. “There’s no reason that the skatepark couldn’t have a young adult that’s just there to monitor it just like any other public park.”
Woods said their department, along with police, doesn’t have the manpower to dedicate someone to patrol the park 24/7.
“It shouldn’t require that,” he said. “We should be able to as a community say we’re going to take care of this. ‘This is very nice. We’re going to take care of it and do what’s right.'”
Woods said they will reopen the park soon and hopes the people vandalizing the park will step up and do the right thing.
“Pretend likes its yours because it is,” he said. “So treat it like it was yours, and like you would want it to be in your home and in your life.”
The Department of Leisure Services cannot put cameras inside the bathrooms, but they do have multiple cameras surrounding the outside of the building.
Woods said he plans to meet with the city manager and police chief Wednesday to discuss their next steps and when they plan to reopen the park.