SHAMOKIN — There are no children swinging, sliding or playing basketball at the Shamokin Street Playground. Instead, there is a padlock on the gate. Because of graffiti and property damage, the Shamokin Police Department recently shut down the playground until further notice.
“The city invests so much money into the playground projects and the kids just don’t respect it at all,” Officer Nathan Rhodes said.
Shamokin Police Officer Nathan Rhodes says several teenagers were cited over the summer for fighting at the Shamokin Street Playground. Police say the graffiti and property damage got worse, so earlier this month they closed the playground to everyone.
“I don’t think it should be closed totally, I think there should be some kind of compromise,” Lori Masser said.
Lori Masser said her son likes to play basketball at the playground.
“Now that it’s closed, he can’t go up there and play anymore with his friends so it’s really disappointing in that respect,” Masser said.
Other parents disagree.
“It’s all hours of the night. They cut holes in fences. Destroy the place,” Jennifer Krushinskie said.
Jennifer Krushinskie calls the playground “out of control”.
“A lot of things go on over there that shouldn’t go on. I think it’s a good idea they shut it down,” Krushinskie said.
Police say something similar happened here a few years ago. This used to be a skatepark but it closed for the same reasons. Police say it never reopened.
“We sold off the equipment, due to we had a fence around the area, they tore the fence down,” Rhodes said.
Police say they hope to reopen the Shamokin Street Playground in the spring. Jennifer Krushinskie believes the crime will come back.
“I’ve been here eight years so I know it’s going to happen again,” Krushinskie said.
Shamokin police say anyone caught inside the playground while it’s closed will be prosecuted. If you have any information on who vandalized the Shamokin Street Playground you are asked to call police.