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Longfellow Creek P-Patch / Trail

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The P-Patch offers patches of dirt for local residents who lack garden space. People sometimes bring their kids along to play while they're digging and weeding. Community volunteers cleaned up, repaired, and restored the P-Patch two years ago.

updated October 17 - more homelessness, less vandalism

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Nearby is an entrance to the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail, marked by a portal with pillars and benches, with ceramic tiles engraved with sketches that portray the history of the creek.

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For several years, homeless camps have come and gone in the park, in the woods north of the P-Patch. One has been active for the past few months, but local residents don't believe that the campers are responsible for any of the vandalism to the park.

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After volunteers restored the P-Patch, vandals haven't re-trashed it. In the past couple of years, they moved into the interior of the park along the trail. Underage drinking and vandalism were centered around the wooden footbridge and the trail nearby.

Arsonists set fire to the bridge deck in late May, burning a two and a half by two foot hole in the planking. After the Parks Dept. made a temporary plywood repair to the deck, in June vandals set fire to one of the railings, and broke it and some support braces away from the bridge.

The Parks Dept. removed the remains of the burned and broken down bridge on August 24. They had to wait for permit approval from the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to do the work. Vehicles couldn't drive in, so a conservation crew walked in, took the bridge apart with hand labor, and brought it out to the trucks in the parking lot a block away down the trail. The Parks Dept. doesn't plan to build another bridge there.

Whole or broken, it was the favorite comfortable, shady hideaway and gathering place of truant students, ex-students, ne'er-do-wells and inebriated teenagers. Now there isn't a good out-of-sight lounging spot in the park to attract them. Everyone else liked to lean on the railing and gaze at the stream, too. I miss that, but the park is less messed up now and I don't miss the vandals.

Smaller numbers of students still gather socially at what was the second most popular spot, the shallow ford near the Elmgrove St. entrance, but it's mostly visible from the apartment complex across the fence and that discourages the worst behavior. Mail thieves still dump packages and mail, often near the north entrance at 24th and Elmgrove. But even with some remaining problems, the trail is a beautiful, quiet refuge from traffic while walking in the neighborhood.

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updated September 4 - bridge removed, graffiti painted over, more mail theft

This part of the trail - from the P-Patch at Thistle Street north to Elmgrove Street - borders Sealth High School. This section had more than 50 vandalized trees by July of this summer. Much of the damage happened in the past two years, and especially this year. Carol Baker of the Parks Dept. said at the Find It, Fix-It Walk on July 25 that Parks' usual response is to paint over tree graffiti, and by the end of August they had done that to much of it. There's nothing they can do about the graffiti carved into the trees.

New graffiti appeared on four trees within days after Parks painted over much of the old graffiti. But these are now painted over too, so only a few trees on the far side of the creek still have graffiti. So far, there's been much less less vandalism since school started on September 7.

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In case you have this problem, here's as much of an expert explanation as I can find:
Purdue Extension: Graffiti Removal fromTrees

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