Slater council wrestles with vandalism problem

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The remains of a fire set in one of the bathrooms at the newly renovated Slater Kiddie Park. In addition to several attempts to set fires, vandals recently spread human feces and wrote graffiti on the restroom walls, prompting Slater officials to seek new methods to combat the problem. (Eric Crump/Democrat-News)

Slater city officials believe kids are responsible for recent cases of vandalism and they may consult kids in seeking a solution to the problem.

Mayor Stephen Allegri didn't mince words Tuesday, Sept. 2, when reporting the latest case of vandalism at the city's Kiddie Park.

"This may not be politically correct, but the people who did this are nothing but trash," he said. "It's disgusting."

Allegri then described what was found in recently renovated bathrooms at the park: human feces smeared on sinks and on the wall; "wannabe" gang graffiti; and evidence of several fires set on the floor, in trash cans and on paper towel dispensers.

Noting that the improvements at the park had cost nearly $50,000, he said, "The taxpayers deserve better than this" and he asked the council for its recommendations in dealing with the problem.

"We'll do whatever it takes to try to put a stop to this," he said.

The council spent some time discussing possible steps they could take. Consensus seemed to support more strict enforcement of the city's existing 10:30 p.m. curfew for anyone age 17 and under.

Councilman Matt Campbell suggested imposing a 9 p.m. curfew at the Kiddie Park, though he added as clarification that he didn't want to suggest it include the pool area, where older kids often congregate.

The idea of putting cameras in the park was suggested, but Assistant City Administrator Gene Griffith suggested he was leery of that option.

"It comes down to parenting," he said, adding that people who see anything suspicious need to report what they see to police or city officials.

The council will review its existing curfew ordinance at its next regular meeting and discuss whether to amend it.

And Allegri said he would contact the school district to invite young people to join the council's discussion of the problem.

"That's not a sign of what kids we have in this town (are like) at all," he said. "There's a few and until they are caught they make everyone look bad."

In other business, the council approved an ordinance establishing "an administrative remedy for people who think they've been inappropriately charged a tax or fee," according to City Attorney Pat Cronin.

The ordinance allows residents 30 days to file an appeal and to specify why they think the charge is illegal, he said.

The council also debated whether to change its ordinance governing off-road vehicles. A proposal was made to create a city permit that would allow the use of ATVs on city streets for those who met the qualifications, including holding a valid drivers license and having proof of insurance.

The range of off-road vehicles available, from lawn mowers and golf carts to 'Gators, scooters and three- and four-wheel ATVs, makes regulating their use in town a challenge. The council debated the issue for some time before voting five to three against making any changes to the current ordinance.

Griffith also gave the council an update on the improvements to the water plant, which are being slowed in the design phase. He said work on the plant may start one to two months later than projected, with the start date moved back from Oct. 1 to as late as Dec. 1.

Contact Eric Crump at

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  • I would have to agree with Mayor Allegri but without using the word "trash" when talking about the people doing the vandalism. It is pathetic how somebody could do this! I would think we would all want our park to be a welcoming and clean place for our families and children to visit while in town. There are just those few random people that have to go and mess that up for everyone. I'm not sure however that changing the curfew to 9pm or even putting cameras in the park is such a good idea. It doesn't have to be dark for someone to do something horrible like this in the park, it could happen anytime during the day! People that live in Slater, not only around the park area but all around town need to report any activity that they find suspicious. The camera idea might work but I could see the cameras being vandalized themselves. This is a serious matter that I am glad the city council is looking into. In the meantime the citizens of Slater need to keep their eyes open and the police officers on duty need to keep a close eye on anyone walking around on the streets and definitely in the park!

    -- Posted by aen2012 on Wed, Sep 3, 2008, at 1:15 PM
  • Yes, these kids are TRASH. Pure TRASH. You would agree if you were the one who had to literally clean up someone else's "CRAP" out of the sink, and on those walls. Where were their parents? Home wondering where their child was? NO! They're just as guilty as these kids.

    -- Posted by prd123 on Wed, Sep 3, 2008, at 2:00 PM
  • Mayor Allegri is right on target with everything said about these kids. The Wannabe should be in caps! The reason for this is thats all they are WANNABE. You low life kids just think your something special and you aren't. Just kids from a small town that are on a fast track to no one wanting to see your faces around town. I would venture to say that the kids of interest in the park are the same ones i see when i drive by the church of Main Street, kissing your little girls like you all are "pimps" HAHAHA you kids know who you are. Ofcourse as citizens of this town go around discussing these unparented kids on the stupid things they do, you seem to always hear the same names. Don't worry kids your names are well know to the community. I myself or someone might not be able to identify you with a glance but after going through a list of common heard names of unmanaged kids I bet you would tell me ding ding ding thats my name! the little boys and girls you think you are impressing with these acts your not. You are just low life people and thats what you always will be until the day comes you learn some RESPECT! Don't worry i'm almost certain you'll never learn that. you kids need to think back on how much you loved going to the kidde park! I'm sure that most of you loved it and didn't want to go into a restroom and smell someones disrespect. The whole point in a community is to give back. this town gives wonderful oppertunites for youth and you all mess it up. wow thats a good idea. Enjoy being a kid, riding your bikes( the key word here is "your", not the neighbor boys or girls) swimming in the pool,(key here is when its open during swimming hours, not when you want to be in there), the youth center(thats not for painting your football number and a few other things that wasn't very creative all over the center, hard working business people that give tax money back to the town so you can grow up here and get an education on the back of there building), City Halls AC unit doesn't need numbers on it, the factory put the only ones on it that will be needed, the dumpsters boy thats cool that displays a form of how trashy you are!Also lets not throw a rock through the window at the local Pharmacy to steal booze, HELLO! who would steal booze, KIDS! Everyone in every business in the wonderful town of Slater gives something back the youth gets to utilize and you all are to dumb to figure it out!

    Grow Up Kids!!!!!!

    -- Posted by SalineFire on Thu, Sep 4, 2008, at 11:35 AM
  • aen2012 Is correct - you would THINK that you would want your park to be a welcoming place for families, however - the same kids take over everything in town. Families with small children do not want to take their kids around these groups, therefore they stay away from the park, they stay away from the playground equipment at the school - they just don't get to enjoy it like they used to. It's the same group of kids that you always hear about, but nothing is done. It goes back to the PARENTS of these children. If you can't control your kids, get them help, or better yet, get yourself help. Get your kids OFF the streets, let them tear up their own home. Quit making the public deal with them.

    -- Posted by concrnedctzn on Thu, Sep 4, 2008, at 12:10 PM
  • The Slater Law class would like to inform everyone that we are trying to find out who did this and we are working with the police and community to make it better for the younger kids that play there.

    ACTS BEING TAKEN!------>

    -We are going to get together and form a neighborhood watch over the major areas.

    -We are putting flyers up around the towna and around our school.

    The person or people who are responsible for this should please come forward for the safty of the younger kids that play in the park and use the bathroom, as for everywhere else in town.

    ---If you have any information please contact an administrator or the police

    thank you very much

    Slater 4 hour Law Class.

    -- Posted by highschoollawstudent5 on Thu, Sep 4, 2008, at 12:46 PM
  • In all seriousness

    what happened in the Slater kiddie park bathrooms are rediculous!! I talk my little brother up there to play all the time and I cant just walk him back home ofr him to use the bathroom. what those trashy kids did in the bathroom was unbeleiveable and out of line! You know good and well that if that was their bathroom at home they wouldnt have done that and wouldnt want anyone doing it there either.

    They dont understand that what they do reflects on how everyone and other town think of we really want them to think that we are just letting kids do what they want to in public places? no!!

    whoever did this should have the respect to come forward and tell why they did it! because apparently they were brave enough to do it so why not accept the punishment?

    -- Posted by highschoollawstudent5 on Thu, Sep 4, 2008, at 12:53 PM
  • ------?

    -- Posted by highschoollawstudent5 on Thu, Sep 4, 2008, at 12:56 PM
  • They are not going to come forward, they will sit back and laugh at the efforts to find them. The reward on the City Pharmacy break-in continued to increase, and I think everyone had an idea of who was involved, but no one would ever come forward.

    They will continue to do what they want, where they want - abandoned houses, the park, the streets- wherever they want.

    I wouldn't be so sure their bathrooms at home don't look like that - obviously these parents aren't motivated to do what needs to be done.

    -- Posted by concrnedctzn on Thu, Sep 4, 2008, at 1:03 PM
  • Tis a shame for this to happen. My suggestion - and though I know Slater has only a small police force - but maybe if they were less concerned about minor speed and traffic violation at the rate they seem to be - the officers on duty could spend a bit more time patrolling and "staking out" the park. It is a small town, maybe some officers at the park after dark, without a patrol car in sight, would be more apt to catch these. Kudos to the high school kids who are trying to solve this issue - and who want to preserve the quality of the park that they grew up in.

    -- Posted by the26er on Wed, Sep 10, 2008, at 6:21 PM
  • For all the kids out there taking a stand CONGRATS & GOOD LUCK!!! Thanks for proving there are good kids left in Slater!! My hats off to you!!

    -- Posted by Laura1 on Tue, Sep 16, 2008, at 8:48 PM
  • it wasn't only the kiddie park involved either. i used to take my dog to the park over by the lake. we were there one day and i saw a spot under the pavillion and the bathroom that had a fire started. i also think slater needs more than one oficer on duty at a time. and if parents were able to take more control of there children with out having to worry about child abuse things might be different. if i did anything remotely like this when i was a kid i sure would have gotten my hide tanned.

    -- Posted by rabii78 on Mon, Jun 8, 2009, at 11:45 AM
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