Residents Upset by Bench Vandalism
Bench donated for Arbutus bus stop by Pasadena resident damaged, marred with spray paint.
It's a comparatively small matter, in the great scheme of things. But to many residents in the Arbutus area, vandalism to a bench on Westland Boulevard and Circle Drive struck a nerve.
The bench is a sorry sight, with slats of the backrest kicked out, tagged with spray painted graffiti and littered with trash.
"I can't believe what I'm looking at," wrote Pete Kriscumas, an Arbutus resident and community liaison for Councilman Tom Quirk, on Facebook. "This is a huge disappointment to me."
For many, the thoughtless act of petty destruction is a quality of life issue that is yet another indication of a perceived decline in the neighborhood.
Installed less than eight months ago, the bench was hand-crafted by Bud Coking, of Pasadena, and donated to the Arbutus community.
Last year, Arbutus Improvement Association--which usually sticks to projects in its base neighborhood on the other side of UMBC--undertook an effort to replace a bench that used to be located on the northbound bus stop on Westland.
Neither the Mass Transit Administration nor Baltimore County were anxious to replace the bench that had been located on that spot for years, according to sources.
Initially, Kruscumas said that he intended to ask the Lansdowne Home Depot to donate a bench.
But Barry Miller, a Halethorpe resident and realtor at EXiT Results Realty of Catonsville, suggested an alternative--his Uncle Bud in Pasadena.
With about $250 in materials, Coking built the sturdy bench, which was installed with little fanfare on Dec. 17, 2011.
There was no marker or advertising on the bench, but it stood for almost eight months as an act of kindness among neighbors.
Today, those who were touched by the gesture are heartbroken.
"I am beyond upset over this," said AIA president Nikki Marlatt-Young on Facebook. "To have this type of respect for property is extremely sad."
"Unbelievable," Arbutus resident Chrissy Highes Stafford commented on Facebook of the damaged bench. "It sickens me to no end."
Marlatt-Young said that AIA is looking into repairing the bench.