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Vulgar graffiti cleaned at Columbian Park

It happened on Saturday. Regular park patron Jerry Bishop says it's important to keep local parks safe for everyone.

Posted: Sep 17, 2019 10:31 PM
Updated: Sep 18, 2019 12:19 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Employees at Lafayette Parks and Recreation quickly got to work cleaning the pier just north of the Jenks Rest building. This came after someone vandalized the pier with vulgar words, spray painted on the floor planks.

Sgt. Mike Brown from the Lafayette Police Department confirmed that an online report was submitted to them on Saturday, September 14th. He said the graffiti is not gang related.

On Tuesday, just steps away from the erased words, sat Jerry Bishop with his fishing rod.

"I come out here in the early mornings sometimes and it's just so peaceful," he said. "You can't beat it."

As long as the sun is shining, 74-year-old Bishop goes fishing at Columbian Park every day. He lives at a nearby retirement home and uses a motorized wheelchair to get around ever since he had a stroke.

He added that he is a loyal Lafayette Aviators fan and would often times go watch the baseball games, even the ones that went until 10:30 at night. His stroke took away part of his mobility, mostly impacting his right side. He could still expertly attach bate to the end of the hook and toss it out to the water gracefully.

The stroke also caused him to lose his memory. He said he had to relearn to talk, count and feed himself. 

"Did you ever forget how to fish?" I asked him. 

"No I remembered that for sure," he replied with a laugh.

He said he has made many friends during his years fishing at Columbian Park, and that he is upset by the act of vandalism.

"That is ridiculous, that is not good for anything for the young kids," he said. "I don't care about age, that is not good for anybody."

Claudine Laufman is the superintendent for Lafayette parks. She agrees with Bishop.

"Our team works really hard to keep our parks safe and make sure that they are beautiful," she said. "When someone comes along and defaces city property, it's incredibly disappointing."

Kurt Wolf is the assistant safety and security director for Lafayette Parks and Recreation. He said keeping the parks safe is a team effort with the community.

"We appreciate the patrons of the parks when they let us know if there's an issue," he said. "If you see something say something."

Wolf said that anyone who does see vandalism happen at a local park should report it directly to police. He added that they do have cameras around Columbian Park to maintain security.

"If the park isn't safe, that defeats the whole purpose of the park," said Bishop, who has seven grandchildren that he intends to pass on his fishing expertise to. He wants to make sure the parks are safe for everyone who stops by to enjoy the outdoors.

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