Students help paint over vandalized Silver Park shelters

2011-07-21T22:34:00Z 2011-07-22T22:04:54Z Students help paint over vandalized Silver Park sheltersBy ALYSE BACKUS for the Missoulian missoulian.com
July 21, 2011 10:34 pm  • 

Missoula's Silver Park got some much-needed love from a group of middle-school students Thursday afternoon.

The C.S. Porter Flagship program teamed up with Jennifer Anthony, an engineer at Fearless Engineers, the Rotary Club and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency to paint over tagging on bench shelters along the bike path in Silver Park.

Anthony organized the project to encourage Missoula youth to take pride in the park.

In 2008, Anthony enlisted the help of the Timber Framers Guild of Missoula to build three bench shelters in the park. A five-day workshop brought timber framers together to construct one of the timber structures. Other local shops built the other two shelters. The wood came from two local mill sites, including the one Silver Park sits on. Not a single nail was used in the construction process.

The new wooden structures were supposed to kick off a entire remodeling of the park.

However, on day two of the workshop, the stock market crashed, sending the economy spiraling downward. The park project was put on hold. Not long after the area had been temporarily abandoned, graffiti tags appeared on the hand-crafted wooden structures. A name would be scribbled on the wood with a permanent marker and soon another one would follow. The shelters soon had to be closed off.

***

Three years later, Anthony was back at work on the structures. She scurried around handing buckets of epoxy paint and paint brushes to kids as they brushed on the satin- finish paint to erase the black scars from past tagging.

Enthusiasm for the manual labor bubbled up from the group of preteens and teenagers. As they whisked their paint brushes along the wood grain, they chatted and giggled.

"I love painting," says Zoe Green, 13. "Painting is fun."

Green slapped another coat of milky paint on a wooden beam as she and her friend, Katie Gunter, rattled off all the activities they have done this summer with the Flagship program. Swimming, dance, field trips and, of course, painting the shelters topped their lists.

"Painting has been really fun," says Gunter, 14. "I didn't even know these were back here. I want to come back here now."

The C.S. Porter Flagship program offers activities for their students after school and during the summer free of charge.

"We have seen a decrease in alcohol and tobacco use in the school, and there has been has higher attachment to school," said Sienna Solberg, a Flagship staff member. "Working with youth and seeing them engaged and making friendships across grade levels is inspiring."

Solberg said Anthony reached out to the Flagship program to get the kids involved in their community and encourage their peers not to tag public property. The painting project was a way for the students to take ownership in the park and prevent further vandalizing by educating their peers.

"We want them to be proud of this project," said Solberg. "They really love anything hands-on."

The Rotary Club helped put the shelters up in 2008 and now they are back to help supervise the kids, provide supplies, and give the kids lunch.

The Missoula Redevelopment Agency paid for the paint and other materials. The special anti-graffiti paint costs $1,000 for five gallons. Anthony says not a drop will go to waste.

***

This is the first step in getting the park back on track, said Chris Behan, Missoula Redevelopment Agency's assistant director. He says the agency will get new grass in place by the end of August. The next project aims to clean up the leftovers from the Champion mill that once called the park home.

Behan said the city will try to recycle as much as possible. The gigantic wood pile that sits a few hundred feet from the bike trail will be turned to compost and the old cement will be reused.

"This has been a really neat project," Behan said of Silver Park. "We really see the community coming together on this."

Intern reporter Alyse Backus can be reached at 523-5240 or at alyse.backus @missoulian.com.

 

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian digital director Emily Foster presents the latest news you need to know about today's headlines …

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian digital director Emily Foster presents the latest news you need to know about tod…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian digital director Emily Foster presents the latest news you need to know about tod…

Montana Conservation Corps

Montana Conservation Corps

Montana Conservation Corps crew leaders build a log border for a trail they're realigning in…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian digital director Emily Foster presents the latest news you need to know about tod…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Martin Kidston presents the latest news you need to know about today's h…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian digital director Emily Foster presents the latest news you need to know about tod…

Kole Swartz Service

Kole Swartz Service

Josh Hinrichs, friend of the Swartz family, pays tribute to Kole Swartz during a service for…

Les Schwab

Search our events calendar