By Ken Martin

BEAUTY SPOT: For those of you that may not have been on San Miguel Avenue recently, we now have a beautiful new park at the Adobe Art Center. It is the result of a joint effort between Hayward Area Parks and Recreation District and Castro Valley Unified School District. The facility is largely on school property but was built by HARD.

It has something for almost everybody. Amenities include a skateboard park, picnic areas, a playground and sandbox,  bocce courts, a huge lawn area, a YMCA building, and restrooms  - everything a nice community park needs.

I have to assume that this park in general, and the skateboard area in particular, is, at least in part, in response to the constant lament by parents and children that “There is nothing for the kids to do here” and “We need a skateboard park”.

So now we have a facility that should provide the “kids” with “something to do”. And it has been successful. So far it has given them the opportunity to graffiti the skateboard area and the YMCA building, tear down the park rules signs, damage the drinking fountain, tear up the bocce courts with their bikes, and trample the newly planted shrubs – all this, I might point out, before the park was even opened and was still fenced. Unless there is something that I missed, the presence of the fence was a prima facie message to “KEEP OUT”.

Things have improved somewhat since the fence has been removed and the park is now open. These “kids” don’t have to face the stigma of climbing the fence to further damage the bocce courts and put more stupid graffiti on the premises. They have also added the activity of throwing trash, broken bottles, and empty cigarette packs around even though there are now several trash cans available.

The signs showing the rules for use of the skateboard park clearly state that helmets and pads are required. This requirement is largely ignored. How long will it be before some child is injured and the parents will be suing HARD and CVUSD? Many parents actively campaigned for this skateboard park. It would be great if these same parents would come to the park and supervise the activity there.

Maybe I’ve been around too long. I was raised in a time when we tried to care for and preserve things that were put in place for our enjoyment. Now we give the “kids” something to do and they immediately do their best to destroy it. Parents, what kind of life lessons are you giving your children? Apparently not the lessons that they need if their activities in our beautiful new park are any indication!

This park belongs to all the citizens of our community. No one – repeat, no one - has the right to treat it the way these disrespectful vandals are doing. Technically, all these destructive activities are punishable under the law. Maybe we need to make some examples here!