Letter to the Editor: Nowhere to go
I would feel awful if I did not respond to the letters about the Dino Mine park recently.
If the vandalism was done by teenagers, as the local gossip seems to suggest, I think it was done out of frustration because our teenage kids have nowhere to go and nothing to do in our community. Teens cannot even step foot inside that park without being harassed by parents and the police. Even my 18 year old daughter gets questioned when she takes children there she is babysitting.
Just like many others in this community my family helped build the Dino Mine and we live close enough that my nine year old son can use it regularly. However none of the rest of us in the family can. We can't even have family picnics there because we can't play together.
Several times my three teenage daughters have remarked, "If I'd know we couldn't hang out there we would have never helped build it". Furthermore not only would I have not helped build it, I would not have supported if I'd known the 12 and under rule before it was built.
Every piece of equipment in there can hold the weight of an average teenager or adult. None of my kids, or the kids that they hang out with are trouble makers, or vandals. In fact the only trouble any of them have ever gotten into are citations from the police for sitting and talking in the Dino Mine park. I think it is ridiculous as there are plenty of other places the police could be giving out citations.
The police patrol that park more than any other place in town just to kick out teens who have nowhere else to go. I find this very ironic as the last time I drove by Pioneer Park at 9:30 p.m. a teenage boy walked right in front of my car with joints in each hand. I was shocked that he wasn't even trying to hide them. I have never seen a police car over by Pioneer Park at night and the whole community knows the reputation that park has. The teen who walked in front of my car certainly wasn't worried about the police showing up, or in hiding the drugs he was carrying. And I would guess the the other 15-20 kids parked there weren't either. Probably because the police are all over kicking non-drug using kids out of Dino Mine for being over 12 years old, harassing the same kids who helped build the park.
Recently I read that the city is planning to put a mini fountain/water park over by the Dino Mine park. We already have a wave pool in Price and a new pool in Helper. I think we should start putting some funding into something for our teenagers to do. Give them somewhere to just hang out and talk, or even swing on a swing, where they won't get harassed by the police and hanged in the media for being vandals.
As for the graffiti in the Dino Mine park, I think kids who are seven through 12 are old enough to damage and mess up the park on their own.
I also think they are old enough to learn to take care of those damages and messes.