Editorial: How does a swastika linger?

08/08/2013 5:59 AM |

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | A swastika painted on a ramp at the Greenport Skatepark remained visible three days after a Suffolk Times reporter alerted the Village to its presence.

In almost any village in America, phone calls from the local media alerting officials to a swastika spray-painted at a local park would be cause for immediate action.

Apparently that’s not the case in Greenport.

Five days after a Suffolk Times reporter informed Mayor David Nyce and village administrator David Abatelli of the hate graffiti at the Greenport Skate Park on Moore’s Lane, we returned to find the symbol still visible. Yes, five days later, as this issue was published, the swastika remained.

No report appeared in this week’s Southold Town police blotter, either.

When we first contacted Mr. Nyce, he returned our call with a phone message indicating village employees would remove the paint. We’re still waiting.

Reporter Cyndi Murray’s cover story about the problems facing the skate park reveals a major flaw in the way the facility is managed. Mr. Abatelli points out in the story that the park opened 15 years ago with no maintenance plan in place. While community members have launched ambitious campaigns in the past to clean up the park, no major improvements have ever taken place.

But if one statement in the story echoes the village’s current attitude toward the park, it’s this one from Mr. Abatelli: “The kids are lucky it’s still there,” he said.

It’s a statement you wouldn’t expect from a leader in a community where residents speak so often of their hometown pride.

The Village needs to hammer out a plan for the long-term maintenance of the skate park. This proud community should demand as much.

UPDATE: Village workers were at the park at 9 a.m. Thursday painting over the portion of the ramp where the swastika was painted.

Skate ramp painted in Greenport