Columbus welcomed a beautiful, refurbished public gathering space in late June with the reopening of the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library plaza.
Only one week later, however, that beauty was marred as three benches made of softer, Spanish concrete, valued at $5,000 each, were damaged to the point that it’s uncertain if they can be repaired.
Library security camera footage shows three skateboarders sliding on the edges of the benches, a practice known as grinding.
The result of their adventure was scraped and scuffed benches, with one missing a chunk that broke off.
This is disappointing, too, because a few skateboarders are putting the rest in a bad light. Unfortunately, this has happened before. The new Commons suffered skateboard damage, as has Donner Park.
Money spent on plaza bench repairs could be better spent on other projects that benefit city residents — including the parents and friends of the three unidentified suspects on the security footage.
Actions such as these prompt measures that should not be needed. Clips were installed on the outdoor benches at The Commons and Donner Park to prevent grinding, but they make it uncomfortable for people who want to sit and relax. Library officials said they will enforce a policy of prohibiting skateboarding and bicycling on the plaza for fun and ask violators to leave.
Those who caused the damage to the benches should be held accountable. However, the public shouldn’t overreact about skateboarders in general.
Many people have found plenty of enjoyment with the ramps and pipes at Jolie Crider Memorial Skate Park, which opened in August 1999 in Clifty Park. That’s been a popular place for skateboarders who seek fulfillment beyond their homemade ramps or local sidewalks and curbs.
If the skate park no longer meets the needs of skateboard enthusiasts, then a dialogue with the city — whose parks department maintains the skate park — should begin to discuss changes or improvements.
Columbus has many assets that benefit residents one way or another, the library plaza and skate park included. Treating them with care should be an understood responsibility. That way, everyone benefits.
Based on recent actions, though, a few people still haven’t gotten the message.