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Two Youngsters Charged With Vandalizing Voorhees Park

A sample of the vandalism at Voorhees Park, from September, 2009.

A sample of the vandalism at Voorhees Park, from September, 2009.

Fulton Police are charging two youngsters with vandalizing the play equipment at Voorhees Park in September.

Deputy Police Chief Tom Abelgore said in an e-mail on Thursday that that the juveniles would be charged over the weekend with crimes that, if they were adults, would be misdemeanor counts of making graffiti. One of the two is also charged with the juvenile equivalent of possessing graffits instruments, also a misdemeanor.

The youths will be prosecuted in Family Court, so their names and identifying details are kept secret by law.

The play equipment at Voorhees Park was spray-painted with names and crude words just after Labor Day weekend. Neighbors spotted the vandalism in progress and reported it to police.

You’ll recall our story from a couple of weeks ago, in which Alderman Jay Foster and his family decided to clean up the vandalism themselves, only to have youngsters from the neighborhood volunteer to help them.

The equipment was bought by the Friends of Voorhees Park, a community group that formed several years ago to improve the east side park.

Young People Step Up To Wipe Away Fulton Park’s Vandalism

From left to right Jeremiah Phillips, Amber Raate, Josh Howell, Kaylee Foster, Jay Foster, Brandon Peck.  Photos submitted by Cheryl Martin-Schroeder.

From left to right Jeremiah Phillips, Amber Raate, Josh Howell, Kaylee Foster, Jay Foster, Brandon Peck. Photos submitted by Cheryl Martin-Schroeder.

The words were horrible. Offensive. Not fit for any public space, let alone a playground for children.

Someone spray-painted their disagreement with a particular person all over the play equipment at Fulton’s Voorhees Park. Those words could not stay.

The Alderman whose district includes the park, Norman “Jay” Foster, and his family decided they would go to the park and scrub off the paint.

“I have a 7 year old daughter,” he explained. “With school starting, I didn’t want young people to read that. The world comes in on them fast enough.” So he, daughter Kaylee and wife Tracy began heading to the park to spend the day — the last day of Kaylee’s summer vacation — hard at work. And Alderman Foster is recovering from cancer treatments that left him in a weakened condition.

That’s when young people from the neighborhood stepped in.

“I’ve just made friends with a lot of the kids in the neighborhood,” he said. “They came alongside me when they heard I was going there and asked to help.”

It was a good thing those young people offered to help. With a crew of at least seven people, it still took five hours to scrub away all the signs of vandalism. “It was quite an undertaking,” Foster said. “Lots of elbow grease.”

The quick work of the ward’s Neighborhood Watch group allowed police to pick up young suspects in the vandalism.  No details of any arrests have been made public.

Foster also thanked Barry Ostrander of the Recreation Department for getting the cleaning supplies for the effort. But he was especially grateful for the help of Jeremiah Phillips, Amber Raate, John Howell and Brandon Peck as well as his own daughter. “These kids stepped up on the last day of summer vacation,” Foster said during a recent Common Council meeting, making sure his commendation of the young people would be in the city’s records forever.

Note: The photo gallery below shows scenes of the vandalism. Some pictures contain offensive language.

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