Vandals taking advantage of Indianola’s recent embrace of graffiti

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INDIANOLA, Iowa — Vandalism and obscene phrases have temporarily closed a space for skateboarders and graffiti artists in Indianola.

“It really is just a case of a couple bad apples that really ruined this for many, and I think some of our residents drive by and think, ‘yuck, what happened here?'” said Indianola Mayor Pam Pepper.

A month ago, Indianola relaxed laws against graffiti to promote local art at the Indianola Skate Park and encourage positive expression in the community. Not too long after calls began pouring in about obscene art and symbols along with destruction of property at the park. The rules allow for graffiti inside the skate park only and prohibits anything obscene. The city has painted over the vandalism and obscene symbols, but the park will remain closed until the vandalism investigation is over.

“What was starting out to be a really good idea has turned a little bit because of a few individuals,” Pepper said. “Our police department has talked with one of those individuals and we are working through those issues as well. I’m confident we can get this turned around and allow the youth to express themselves in a positive way.”

The city is collaborating with the school district, the school resource officer, high school art club and Mayor’s Youth Council on additional ways to educate park users and encourage them to respect the rules that are in place.

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