Director hoping to end vandalism at local tennis courts
Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015
NATCHEZ — Creativity on local tennis courts has been expressed through explicative graffiti rather than elegant play lately.
The tennis courts at North Natchez Parks have unwanted designs of offensive graffiti, and Natchez tennis court director Henry Harris has had enough, threatening jail time for the next offender.
“We’re just tired of the vandalism,” Harris said. “We’re trying to revitalize this area.”
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Interim assistant director of Natchez Parks and Recreation Wilbert Whittley believes teenagers are behind it.
“We’re just trying to shed a light on it so the parents and grandparents will know exactly what their children are doing,” Whittley said. “When I leave at 6 p.m. everything is fine, but when I get up here early in the morning, I’ve got thousands of dollars in damage. Everybody is complaining to me about it.”
After talking to fraternity members and different organizations, Harris has come to the conclusion that it’s high school kids marking up the tennis courts. Harris, a former Natchez policeman, has contacted the authorities in order to try and prevent the tennis courts from more unwanted artwork. Harris’ message to those committing the crime is simple — stop it now, or else you’re going to jail.
Harris and Whittley are urgent in stopping the vandalism, as Harris said the revitalization of tennis courts should begin next week. Through a city grant, North Natchez Park is expected to upgrade its tennis courts with new nets, fresh paint and new poles.
“We’ve talked to authorities, and since we’re getting ready to fix it up, we all want it to stay fixed,” Harris said. “It’s just kids being kids, but we need to stop this from happening.”