BUDA, Texas (KXAN) – The city of Buda is increasing security and looking at the possibility of adding cameras to the Jackson Tyler Norris Memorial Skate Park after vandals have continually targeted the park over the past six months.
“They’ve done severe damage to the restroom which we now have shut down. They actually took the porcelain toilet and pushed it off its foundation, they’ve broken in through the bathroom vents,” said Buda spokesperson David Marino. “We’re doing everything that we can on our end, but we are asking the public to also be our eyes.”
Painted squares can be seen throughout the park on the concrete where city staff has recently covered up graffiti, locks are on the bathroom doors and a pile of dirt sits near the entrance where a tree was uprooted and hung upside down on the pergola.
“We see vandalism at all of our area parks, whether it’s people with illegal dumping or tagging, but I think this one is a little more personal because it’s a memorial park and it’s just unnecessary, it’s not right and whoever is doing this needs to stop because they are going to get caught eventually,” said Marino. “This isn’t just tagging, we’ve seen it increase. At first, it was the spray painting and now it’s becoming damage to property, damage to the restroom, breaking in. It’s turned into something more than what you normally see, tagging at parks.”
The park was named after 15-year-old Jackson Norris who was hit and killed by a car in Lockhart while riding his skateboard in 2011. His parents say the park provides a safe place for other kids his age to skate without being on the streets. “He was so loving, and kind and generous…and happy and funny,” said Jackson’s mother Rebecca Norris back in 2011 when the park was dedicated to her son.
“It’s almost like spitting on his grave.”
“It makes them happy to know that their son’s name is on this property and that it may prevent somebody else from being in a similar situation,” said Marino.
After Norris died, his family chose to donate his organs, saving the lives of seven others. The small trees planted at the skate park memorialize each of the people he helped which is why it was so heartbreaking for the city and the family to discover the hanging tree.
“They’ve even spread his ashes on this property, it’s almost like spitting on his grave and we want it to stop,” said Marino.
Although it’s unlikely at this point, Marino says if the vandalism continues to get worse the city may have to take even more action such as putting a fence around the entire park and locking it at night. Skaters who love the park hope it doesn’t get that far.
“I’m sure it’s just kids not meaning to do any type of disrespect to the deceased, but it would be really bad if they ruined it for everybody,” said skater Christopher Conrad.
Marino says vandalism is considered criminal mischief and the penalty varies from a misdemeanor to a first-degree felony depending on the amount of damage.
Anyone with information about the damage is asked to call the Buda Police Department 512-312-1001.