Huntsville crews work to remove disturbing graffiti at Fern Bell Park

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Fern Bell Park

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – An unwelcome sight at Fern Bell Park is a work in progress as city staff work to remove it.

A viewer contacted WHNT News 19, upset about graffiti on playground equipment there Wednesday. The graffiti, which WHNT News 19 found Thursday morning, included foul language and inappropriate images.

Parents alerted Huntsville city crews to the problem through Operation Green Team, and crews came out to clean the park and remove the images that day. It didn’t all come off, and crews will need to do some more work to remove the last of it.

Some of the park graffiti before city cleaning. (Image blurred.)

“It’s not tolerated. It’s not acceptable,”said Joy McKee, Operation Green Team’s Landscape Management director. “We try very hard once it’s reported to get it off between 24 and 48 hours. We found that the quicker we got it, the less likely it was to come back.”

McKee said, “Most of the time, it’s kids.” She added, “We encourage parents, if you see your kids sneaking around and buying some paint, there may be some mischief going on. Have that conversation that it’s not a good choice.”

Park graffiti after initial city cleaning. (Image blurred.)

That’s something that Scott Thompson did when his children saw the outlines of what remained of the graffiti Thursday.

“We talked about it, and I said, ‘A lot of times people put bad words somewhere just to be funny,'” he explained. “‘Sometimes you just make mistakes, and you try to avoid that. Just don’t do that.’ Especially if it’s not your property!”

Thompson and his family were traveling through Alabama to New Orleans, from Michigan. He came to the park by chance with his children Austin, Addison, and Aubrey.

“We were looking for a place to play with the kids,” he said, “and this place was close by.”

He said what remains of the graffiti incident will not affect his first impression of Huntsville.

Scott Thompson speaks to his children about graffiti.

“You try not to look at it, and base the whole community because of the actions of some people,” he said. “I’ve dealt with this back at home. You just kind of look past it. You would hope that it’s just a young person who just made a mistake.”

There is still a cost involved in this graffiti. McKee said cleaning graffiti can be expensive, especially if it is persistent.

“We’re just glad that someone let us know quickly, so we could respond quickly,” she explained.

McKee said graffiti in Huntsville can come in waves, but it’s not a widespread problem.

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