I sat through a Peabody City Council meeting Monday night and a couple of interesting things came up. I probably will get into trouble for mentioning them because some readers are not fond of me making reference to local young people who cause problems in our community.
But I am going to make reference anyway.
As council members heard “standing committee reports,” mention was made of vandalism — once again — at the city park. You may recall that earlier in the summer someone (or several someones) climbed atop the public rest rooms and damaged or ripped off roofing slate. You may recall that during the past several summers, vandals broke into a concession trailer left on site near the baseball diamond, damaged rest rooms at the pool, and broke into the pool for late night swims. Now who would do that?
Call me crazy, call me unduly suspicious of young people, call me mean; but I just cannot envision any senior citizens out there hoisting themselves atop a nearby Dumpster, crawling up onto the roof, prying off the decorative tiles, and tossing them to the ground. Can’t see it. I expect they also are innocent of stealing candy from the concession trailer and breaking into the pool for late night swims.
This time it was the flower beds at the park that were vandalized. Friday night someone (or several someones) pulled up plants and flowers on the west side of the park. It might have happened late at night or it might have happened during or right after the football game. One member of the park volunteer committee, POPPs, noted that all was well early Friday evening. Saturday morning she found the plants had been pulled up and left to die.
Once more, I doubt it was a gang of senior citizens … or even middle-aged baby boomers. Are we narrowing down the choice of the perpetrators here?
Also heard by the city council was a question about Christmas lights and the cost of maintaining electrical connections during the months they are not in use. During discussion of the cost of lights and how much is spent each year to maintain them (all donations by the way, not city tax dollars), it was noted that some years replacement bulbs can boost maintenance costs by several hundred dollars because of vandalism. Someone (or several someones) goes up a fire escape, leans over the edge of the building, unscrews the Christmas light bulbs, and throws them to the sidewalk below. What a thrill that must be!
Again, I am going to hazard a guess that this is the work of our youth.
What in the world would possess them to do this? We are talking about little 1½-watt bulbs … the size of a hallway night-light, for Pete’s sake! How big a noise could it make on impact? Could you even hear it two stories up? It is not like it’s a spotlight or something that is going to go “Ka-plooey!” and scatter glass 100 feet in every direction.
And do you think they know that if they make one slip and go over the edge of building they will not survive the impact with the sidewalk? Do you think little Joey knows what will happen when he hits the concrete? Maybe you should have a talk with him.
We recently celebrated Labor Day. Peabody is not a center of activity on Labor Day, but some businesses are open. People driving by on their way to or from Florence or elsewhere come into town to eat, shop, or just see our historic downtown. All day Saturday and all day Sunday we proudly showed off litter, trash, and dead foliage and tree branches in front of the HUB … cups, straws, paper plates and napkins, cigarette packs and butts, pop cans, water bottles, you name it. Someone finally cleaned it up by Monday. I would be willing to bet it wasn’t anyone younger than 18.
Complaints have spiraled about young people hanging out IN the street at night around the HUB, blocking traffic, tossing footballs, skateboarding, bringing their own lawn chairs and just sitting there, smoking, messing, whatever.
Come on, kids, what’s the deal? I take copies of our newspapers to classes at the grade school and the high school. Here is a challenge for you. Are you a member of a class that gets the paper? Write me a letter and tell my why this junk happens here. You don’t even have to sign your name. And I won’t print your letter if you tell me not to.
This time around I would just love to know what makes you tick. What makes you want to yank flowers out of the ground? Why throw your trash into street? What kind of thrill do you get from destroying city Christmas lights or decorations people put up during the holidays? Why take a child’s pumpkin and smash it in the street? Why is it fun to plug up toilets at the park? Why? Why? Why?
Kids from every town in Marion County want to have a youth center like the HUB. They envy you having a place like that. Why do you insist on creating problems by being crummy neighbors? Why invent issues that challenge business owners and people who are proud of the historic downtown area? Why kick apart the benches, litter the sidewalk and parking areas, destroy the plants and trees? Why is that fun?
Let me know. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org; snail mail is Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, PO Box 129; phone is 983-2185 (leave a message) and fax is 983-2700. There also are boxes in the offices at both schools … leave me a letter. Tell me why you want to tear up what others have done to try to make the community a good place to live.
Or tell me why you would NOT do that. I know there are good kids out there also. What are your thoughts? Let’s see where this goes.