DENVER — Denver's parks department spent much of Thursday morning cleaning up racial and homophobic slurs spray-painted on City Park's new playground.
Park crews discovered the graffiti in the early morning and immediately spray-painted over it to prevent children from seeing the hurtful words.
"It was just hate, pure and simple," Scott Gilmore with Denver Parks and Rec said on Thursday. "When you talk about parks it should make your heart feel good and this shouldn’t be happening."
The vandals tagged the park's brand new $2.6 million playground equipment, as well as a tree. The crews were able to power wash most of the profanity away, but some of the equipment requires a special cleaning process.
Crews had to turn families away for much of the early morning to make sure the work was complete.
"It’s great that we just get rid of it and clean it up and move on, but we need to educate the public that this is not OK, this is not acceptable and if we can find out who did this, we will hold them accountable," Gilmore said.
Evan Rose visited the park on Thursday with her two children, excited for a fun day. Instead, she had to explain to her 2-year-old and 5-year-old just how mean people can be.
"I just think it's awful. It's a really nice space for everybody, so any sort of graffiti was just sad and not warranted, but especially that type of graffiti, it's just awful," Rose said. "There’s not a lot of wonderful free spaces for kids, and to do something in one of those spaces is just awful and it’s really hurtful to the kids. It’s not worth it."
The City Park playground reopened late Thursday morning. Gilmore said there weren't any cameras in the area but they would share photos of the incident with the Denver Police Department's graffiti unit. The department hopes investigators can find a match in their graffiti database and identify the culprit.
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