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.Ã‚Â 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.