Vandalized playground equipment in the shadow
of non-functioning security lights.
cannot describe the joy I felt the day the
Tabernacle Church installed
a fully functioning playground on the grounds of
Barber School. My three year old loves the place and always
wants to go there and play. I find it a pleasant place to idle,
while I watch my son interact with kids of the community. The
playground is a symbol of what Highland Park could be if people came
together for our common good.
However, since it's construction there seems to be a serious
disconnect within the community. Gradually, the playground has
become vandalized. It's swings are vanishing one by one. Glass and
garbage lie strewn on the ground.
I've noticed members from the Tabernacle Church drop by and maintain
the playground from time to time, but it appears at present to be a
Whenever I take my son there, I make a point of picking up glass and
throwing it in the litter containers. Each time it's amounted to
several handfuls. I've noticed that the children from Barber School
spend recreation time on the playground, and that is as should be.
What puzzles me is the seeming lack of interest that the school
takes in the basic maintenance of the playground. I realize that
teachers who guard the children have a lot on their plate and that
they need a break as much as anyone.
said, I still cannot understand how they can let their charges play
on such glass strewn grounds. All the time I have taken my child to
play, I have not once seen anyone from the school show the slightest
inclination to walk into the playground, let alone pick up garbage
or glass. When I look up at the Barber School Building, I see that
there are security lights that could illuminate the playground at
night, but they are either never turned on or have fallen into
By degrees, I have watched the gradual disassembly of the playground
through lack of basic upkeep, random vandalism and outright theft.
Thief removing schoolyard equipment
many ways, the battle for the for the Barber School Playground
is a battle for Highland Park in miniature. If we as a community
fail to rectify the situation, it would be worse than having no
playground at all. To have had something wonderful placed in our
hands and then let it fall into disuse would not bode well for our
community. If we cannot carry the responsibility of a playground,
then how can we hope to save our city from dissolution?
On the other hand, if we can show ourselves capable of salvaging the
playground, what other projects of a more ambitious nature might we
be capable of?
Here are a few suggestions that might be
implemented to save the playground from complete destruction:
- There must be an open channel between
the Barber school and the Tabernacle Church, so that basic
maintenance can be carried out on a regular basis.
- Fences must be maintained.
- Security lights must be fixed/turned on
- Police must regularly cruise by the
- Signs must be put up, warning that
vandalism will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
- Neighbors in the area should have a
clear idea as to what they should do if they see vandalism
transpiring on the playground.
- The community in general ought to be
brought more into play, so that they feel that the playground is
theirs to protect.
If you have any comments or questions or
suggestions, please don't hesitate to place them on the
Related topics: 07/29/03 "Playground