Troubled Playground In Shamokin Gets Another Chance

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SHAMOKIN -- A playground in Shamokin is scheduled to reopen on Thursday. Police shut it down in October because of vandalism and what they call bad behavior by teenagers.

City officials say they want to give kids another chance and they're asking parents to help keep watch.

A locked gate keeps people out of the Shamokin Street playground just as it's done for the past seven months since police shut it down because of crime.

"All my friends and us, we used to just chill here and everything. Then the cops came and closed it because there's a lot of fights and everything," said Marcus McDowell.

But now the Shamokin Street playground is getting a second chance, thanks to city officials.

"We're going to open it up. It's a shame the folks of this area have no place to play," said Mayor Bill Milbrand.

Police closed the Shamokin Street playground in October because of vandalism, fights, and what they call bad behavior by teenagers. Many people who live near the facility say they've missed the playground.

"We'll have family gatherings and a house full of kids and they'll look across the street and see the playground. They'll want to go over but they can't because they have it locked," said Sandra Runkle.

Runkle says her nieces and siblings are excited their playground is scheduled to reopen this week.

"That's really great because I know the locals around here have been talking about what they can do to restore it."

"I'm pretty excited because me and my friends will get to chill here again and have somewhere to go," McDowell said.

Even though the playground will reopen, part of the equipment will be blocked off because of graffiti. The mayor says they're waiting for an anti-graffiti paint which will take a couple of days to dry.

"We're going to take care of that on the playground equipment," the mayor said.

Mayor Milbrand says city officials will not put up with vandalism and bad behavior at the playground.

"If they're going to respect the playground, it will continue to be open. If not, we're going to take some action on it."

The mayor asks anyone who sees vandalism at the Shamokin Street playground to call police.

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