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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Joe Cole Park Vandalized

2011-12-18_12-11-05_12

All Photos by Robert Mann-Thompson

The following story comes from a reader and neighbor:

On Sunday, a pee-wee football league that now practices at Joe Cole Park (1200 Morse Street), showed up for practice and found the gates locked. Instead of turning away when they found the gates locked (the park is brand new, as are the gates), they took it upon themselves to break into the park. In doing so, they did what appears to be over a thousand dollars in damage to the gate. They ripped the metal gate from the concrete, and bent the metal so severely that the gate had to be removed.

I'm told that no one saw them rip up the gate, but that once an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner showed up with her official placard display on her vehicle (and called MPD) they quickly fled the premises.

I cannot say for sure that these parents were the guilty party, but neighbors seem to strongly lean that way. At any rate, someone clearly vandalized the gate. It's an expensive repair, and it leaves the previously gated park open to drug dealers, or any other comers, after hours.

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38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Time for a big sign: "THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS."

inked said...

WORD!

inked said...

Perhaps also time for a sit-down with the coach and parents. If they are really the responsible party they ought to have to pay for the damages. BTW, I'm told that the fleeing parties drove away. Many of those cars reportedly had MD tags.

grrr said...

probably the same asshole that stole my mailbox and plants. no, we are not yet allowed to have nice things. maybe one day.

Anonymous said...

Well the heathens must learn it from someone.who better to teach than parents?

Doesn't PG county have its own parks to vandalize?
This is a darn shame.

Are there cameras outside of this place? It seems they would have some.maybe that would help identify the culprits if these people ever come back for another practice.

Anonymous said...

the number of Marylanders who abuse our Rec Centers, our schools, and our free street parking is absurd. They also speed down our streets, but don't pay a dime in taxes here. We need more resident parking signs, better DCPS fraud enforcement. And our Rec Centers should charge something nominal like $1 for nonDC resident uses.

AndTobago said...

and...it begins

longtime neighbor said...

first, how is everyone sure the pee wee team's parents are responsible, when drug dealers have the most motive to tear off the gate (so they can handle their business inside?)

now, if there is some solid eyewitness evidence that the pee wee football team's parents and fans are responsible, i.e. If someone showed up while pee wee footballers were practicing and saw (a) an intact gate before they showed up and (b) a torn up gate while they were there, then why not levee the charge against the pee wee football team? confiscate all team equipment until the bill is paid, the parents will ante up.

Anonymous said...

Sort of curious about if the peewee team was suppose to be using the park for practice, that could be a reason or them to take off.

In any case, it is important that the DC parks people get the gate fixed, and better secured so that it doesn't happen so easily again. I suspect that they won't , since it seems to be merely an employment agency for the kids of the politically connected.

inked said...

longtime,
It's true, I haven't talked to anyone who actually saw the parents pull up the gate. But I will note that I haven't seen the drug dealers in the park (and I was sitting on a porch right across the street from the park last night).

HomeytheClown said...

why is the pee wee league fleeing then? Because when you had nothing to do with anything, you flee? Don't think so, homey don't play dat

Anonymous said...

That first picture makes it look like the gate is only 3 1/2 feet tall. Seems like if they were pee wees, you could have just thrown them all over the fence. You know, make a drill out of it where they run up to the adult, then get scooped up and tossed over.

Dave B said...

I'm trying to figure out why there is a gate there and why it was locked during what appears to be normal park enjoyment hours. I'm not trying to justify the vandalism, but it seems like the gate is unnecessary and probably not productive.

No Gate Scenario: Drug dealers deal drugs in park late at night. Consequence for upstanding citizens: can't use park late at night

Gated Scenario: Drug dealers deal drugs somewhere else, perhaps on your street corner. Consequence for citizens: drug dealers' location unknown, can't use park late at night and sometimes during the day when it is locked.

I dont see what the gate accomplishes

Trinidaddy said...

Drug dealers and users leave syringes, discarded drug paraphernalia and trash in the park, along with other things that children should probably not be encountering when using the park. Local drunks leave empty cans of king cobra and wild irish rose. Was your comment in jest or are you actually serious?

Rights and Responsibilities said...

"This is why..." indeed.

When I first moved here the city was just putting the finishing touches on Wheatley's new, beautiful facilities. Before the school even opened its doors I watched as three MPD patrol cars pulled up and after officers entered the (closed) school, brought out five young children who had broken into (and had been vandalizing) the school.

Three days later I found three kids in my alley discharging fire extinguishers which they had proudly proclaimed they had stolen from the school.

Parents refuse to raise their children, but are the first to get in your face if you try to "tell them how"; the city is impotent in its ability to enforce what few toothless laws have been enacted...

...as a for the whole "burber" scourge from MD and VA... as long was we keep showing ourselves incapable of autonomy, we will be run by a Congress that does not care, and will not protect, our rights as citizens.

Having said that... I'm not leaving DC any time soon.

Tom A. said...

I'm with Dave B. If we have to lock public spaces, someone should be responsible to open the parks at a decent hour.

I'm not justifying the vandalism, but I definitely would have been annoyed- especially if parks and recs knew were we coming.

In a similar situation, with dozens of kids about to show up at a public place that should be open, I'd first try to contact someone at the city, and if that failed, I'd cut the lock, and offer to pay for a new one. It looks like it probably costs under 5 bucks anyway.

I'd suggest they start to use a combination lock, so that the coaches can know the combination and be responsible for unlocking and locking the park after practice. It's what happens at the dog park at 13th and E NE.

Anonymous said...

Inked, do you know if there is a plan to get this fixed? It would be a shame if the new facility falls to crap because of this.

I know Harry Thomas must have his mind on other things right now, but would this be something for his office to address?

Wrongs and Wretchedness said...

Sure... ol' Harry can fix these problems. He'll make sure all the parks and playgrounds are open at convenient hours for public use...

...for a price.

Dave B said...

i was serious. i had not considered the syringes. i'll take your word on it.

what is the attraction of this park for drug dealers and use?

inked said...

9:27,
The gate is closer to 7 feet tall. It just looks short in the picture

JJ said...

Rather than speculating whether the gate is a good idea or not, it would be a better use of everybody's time to 1.) get the names of the parents who "fled the scene"; 2.) See if you can find some eyewitnesses who actually saw them tearing out the gate.

If they did tear out the gate, they and their kids shouldn't be allowed back on the field until they pay for the damages. Period.

P.S. -- Regardless of who did the damage here, I hate POS Marylanders who ride back into our neighborhood, take up all the parking spots on the weekend, proceed to trash the place, and then leave. Bring back the checkpoints for MD tags I say.

Anonymous said...

What is the process for reserving fields, gyms etc.. in the city. I would hope that we are charging all organized groups a fee for use of space and out of district user should of course pay more. This is ridiculous on so many levels. Why is there no record of who was supposed to be using the field at time. If they were legitimately supposed to be using the field the gates should have been unlioocked. I get so frustrated with our Parks and Rec sytem becasue we have great buildings and poorly implemented programming and organization.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

The DC Parks and Rec is severely understaffed. As of 4 months ago, there were 5 Park Rangers for the ENTIRE city (they are the individuals who open the gates). I know it seems that the gate should have been open if it was permitted by the group and on the Rec schedule, but sometimes things happen--traffic, emergencies, staff illness, etc. and it is absolutely not an excuse to break-in. All groups are given contact information for the permit office and have the Rec Center phone number. A phone call and some patience would have gotten either the Permit team, the Rec manager, or a DPR employee who could have called a Ranger for an update. It is true that the majority of children in the Pee Wee league are indeed Maryland citizens and even though we won the national title last year, the kids had to provide ID/contact information to get to FL on the plane--paid for by DPR--and they were not from DC. Lastly, the permit system in DC is entirely dysfunctional--please know that DPR has 3 permit officers for the ENTIRE city--all Recs, all 900 acres of land--3 folks. Based on reality and logistics there are sometimes errors or miscommunications--there are 3 people! They work so hard its crazy and nobody is allowing them to change policy or streamline the system--its still on PAPER! Crazy stuff, but they work very hard. I find it reprehensible that this group felt entitled to do this--permits are like $30 a year for these groups, if not free through "partnership" agreements. Its ridiculous. Sorry to ramble on about that, but the folks at DPR who got the building built, work in permits, and open the buildings and patrol the parks aren't the problem employees at that place--they work hard, its the upper management and the HR department there that are across the board that's the issue. I wish the parents had more respect because the process to fix the gate is long--it will involve a Capital Projects team requesting a new funding stream because this is not a "repair" that can be made by the Facilities team. This is not an issue of "it should have been open, so we went in".

Anonymous said...

ha, remember when i called some thugs jungle animals and everybody got upset? that was funny. i think we should have tolls coming in and out of the city. if it costs 23 bucks to go back and forth across the bridges in junky ass new york, we could probably squeeze a couple quarters at least out of people coming in and out of dc. rights and responsibilities, i'm no fan of statehood for dc, but do the other states have to prove their rights to autonomy to get voting rights? does illinois lose its voting rights because the governor tried to sell a senate seat? ah who cares really? we'll always be fighting to keep the animals at bay in one section of town or another.
merry christmas or whatever holiday is appropriate,
we're still taking cans for our food drive,
tonyt
the pug

Anonymous said...

DC has high unemployment and understaffed recreation centers. It seems that we should come up with the staffing plan that will finally meet our needs as a city and put people to work at the same time. I would be willing to pay taxes for that.

Amy V Montello Ave.

Anonymous said...

"the kids had to provide ID/contact information to get to FL on the plane--paid for by DPR--and they were not from DC."

any kid who wasn't from dc should have had a suburban parent paying for their plane ticket. if they don't like it, they can play pee wee footbal in maryland.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dave here, I'm not a big fan of gates on a supposedly public park. Can't we just supply some trash cans fork junkies and drunks to deposit there paraphernalia?

PS - YES I'M SERIOUS

inked said...

10:06,
We also have to deal with the possibility of stray dogs using the turf field as a toilet. That's a serious health risk.

Public trash cans are everywhere, but if you have ever done a trash pick up you should know that you will still find dirty needles lying on the sidewalk. Ditto for cans/bottles (including those filled with pee). Eeww.

Not having a fence is a HUGE deal.

Anonymous said...

This is so frustrating. I tried to take my kids to the park later that same day, and saw the damage. There were several neighborhood kids around saying that they knew who did it. Also, there are only a couple of trash cans inside the park- with trash all over the ground. Not that an increased number of trash cans would necessarily mean decreased littering, but I am much more likely to pick up others' trash if there is a place to dispose of it nearby. I'm not sure what the solution is, but the increase in both crime and littering has me dreaming of leaving this neighborhood. I'm so sick of it.

AndTobago said...

snitches get stitches, yo

Anonymous said...

Whoever thinks there are trashcans in the neighborhood should get a dog and thn quickly realize there are no trashcans and you have to walk your dog out of the neighborhood if you want to throw away the dog bags. Crossing over Florida into Ward 6 and there are trashcans almost every block. Trinidad could use trashcans at least every two blocks - it would probably go a long way with the trash problem and the drug paraphanalia.

On another note, if they do find out who vandalized the gates, those parties should be held 100% responsible, even if it was a DC-employee who forgot to open the gates. We need to stand up to vandals and make sure everyone knows what happens if you vandalize public or private property.

inked said...

10:36,
Trinidad once had more corner trashcans. They were removed bk people were using them to dispose of household and bulk trash. That still happens with the one at Florida & Montello.

Anonymous said...

It's really cute how people think trashcans will solve the drug paraphenalia litter problem. I mean, thinking that junkies who don't care if they're getting their fix in public will subsequently walk over to the garbage can and use it? How precious.

Robby said...

I'm not exactly sure how the thread of this conversation got to Junkies and trash cans, but hey it's and open forum. I will say, I live across the street from the gate that was broken, as I walked to a ten am meeting the gate was locked and fine. Yes, it should have been open, but as said earlier DPR is short staffed. The Friends of Joe Cole and the SMD ANC are working on the weekend access issue, but that's no excuse for a group of parents to lift the gate out of its mortar to gain access to the park. They could have called 311, or driven less than five minutes to the Trinidad Rec Center's field, which isn't locked or gated. Instead they decided to destroy government property that the DC tax payer's have to cover.

As for the dealers, they don't frequent the park in part because MPD patrols there, it's well lit and the gates and fence are a deterrent. Yes, people can scale the fence as many neighborhood children do, but it's good enough to keep the customers of dealers away. The street corners are just more accessible and not as well lit.

Further, yes we can and do have nice things in Trinidad, we have a solid core of concerned and active neighbors committed to maintaining and improving the neighborhood.

This type of behavior is simply unacceptable anywhere anytime. The parent's should be ashamed of themselves. That's the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Damn white people are ruining the neighborhood...Wait...I mean...Um...Nevermind.

Parody Time said...

Littering wherever and whenever you feel like it is just a Northeast thang... yeah even outside you're house... y'all just don't gonna get it. SMH.

Scott said...

Pee Wee league for that time spot should be shut down until the person responsible comes forward to atone for his or her actions....

Liz said...

I agree with AmyV. Our property taxes are MUCH lower than other places, including PG county, and I for one would pay more to get more in city services.

I realize I'm in the minority, but hey. Can't hurt to mention it.