When the skatepark opens, the local youth will be very interested in the new facility. Skateboarders, of course, will be thrilled. Other residents will be curious and some will want to interact with the space even if they lack the skateboarding skills to use the park as intended. Graffiti can be a problem during these fledgling months as locals leave their mark on the new attraction.
Establishing a zero-tolerance policy toward graffiti starting on Day One is the best way to ensure your skatepark remains visually clean. Some communities aren’t bothered by graffiti, and there are some skateparks with literally every inch covered in paint. For those communities that aren’t interested in this aesthetic tone, removing graffiti immediately and consistently is the best way to send a message to those that would paint in the park that their messages won’t be seen. Denying these artists and/or vandals a showcase is the tried-and-true method for encouraging them to go elsewhere.
Sometimes a park will be utterly defaced in the course of one evening by industrious vandals. Cleaning larger marks can be time-consuming, but with the right tools the work can be done efficiently. There are several graffiti-removal products available that will meet a Parks Department’s environmental requirements. Provided that the graffiti is removed immediately, before the paint has a chance to fully cure (usually within a few days), most commercial products work equally well.
Volunteer stewards generally have more latitude about what graffiti-removal products they can use. Some of these products work beautifully but are highly toxic. If you are a skateboarder that prefers a graffiti-free skatepark, and are willing to take matters into your own hands, you can keep a can of Crown Anti-Vandal spray or Elephant Snot in your trunk, along with some rags and gloves (and perhaps a filter mask). Protect yourself physically and legally by gearing up, taking care of the marks quickly and discreetly, then get on with the skating.
Sand-blasting is not recommended for skateparks. Bead-blasting (using granular plastic instead of sandy grit) is appropriate. Sand is too abrasive and can etch the surface of the concrete, exposing it to further deterioration from the elements and creating a rough skating surface. Beads, by comparison, are gentler and won’t attack the concrete.
Anti-graffiti coatings are not recommended as they are slippery. These coatings are only appropriate on surfaces that aren’t meant to be skated on.