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Chinatown's Ping Tom Park Still Plagued by Taggers, Vandals

By Casey Cora | September 20, 2013 6:55am | Updated on September 20, 2013 9:08am
 Vandalism has plagued the renovated park and forced weekly cleanups.
Ping Tom Park Graffiti
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CHINATOWN — Graffiti continues to interrupt the scenery at the otherwise tranquil Ping Tom Memorial Park, which recently expanded thanks to $6 million in public funds.

Meanwhile, the park's acclaimed new boathouse waits for improvements that will shore up the flimsy cage surrounding the kayak storage facility.

"There's unfortunately regularly vandalism in the park in general," said James Morro, co-owner of the Urban Kayaks rental business that opened at the park, 300 W. 19th St., earlier this summer.

Morro said the Chicago Park District sends a worker to remove the graffiti about once a week.

It's a tall order.

The spray paint has been blasted across benches, light poles, and the sitting area within a peaceful rock garden, where graffiti depicting male genitalia greets visitors. Some of the graffiti was painted over a sidewalk featuring bits of colored glass mixed in the concrete, making cleanup even more difficult.

As for the boathouse, Morro said it's more secure now than it was when thieves busted in and swiped a handful of kayaks earlier this summer.

That's largely because employees have snaked bike cables through the ornately designed cage in an effort to prevent the panels from being bashed in again.

"Our impression from the park district is that they're coming over the winter to spot-weld all over the place. We got kind of got the past the point where it had to be done right away," Morro said.

The Chicago Park District did not return calls seeking comment.