Vets memorial suffers damage

Damage done to the Veterans Memorial at the Clovis-Carver Public Library. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

A circle of monuments stand outside the Clovis-Carver Public Library in honor of local veterans.

The area around the memorial is manicured and inviting — a place where residents can reflect on the past wars and the military men and women who served.

Library officials discovered the oldest of the monuments, which sits outside the Stonehenge-like grouping, was damaged some time around Thanksgiving. Library personnel and city officials are saying skateboarders are to blame.

Library building maintenance technician Ed Sabie, who oversees the maintenance of the building and the property, said he discovered the damage to the 60-year-old monument during a routine inspection after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“This (monument damage) is just terrible,” Sabie said. “This monument is priceless.”

Library and city officials do not know if the plaque can be fixed.

Clovis police Lt. Patrick Whitney said the responding officer found a 3-by-3 inch chunk missing from the plaque, several smaller holes in the marble, and red marks and shoe prints consistent with the marks left by skateboarders.

“I bet that chunk of marble is sitting on some mindless kid’s dresser,” Sabie said.

Besides the monument, the library has numerous concrete benches and wide, covered sidewalks, which create an ideal locale for skateboarders to practice their tricks, officials said.

Although signs are prominently posted on the building prohibiting skateboarding on the property, Sabie said the warning is ignored by local youth.

“I put signs up and they rip them down,” Sabie said. “I have been fighting skateboarders for years because of the damage they do.”

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas said there is no specific city ordinance that prohibits skateboarding. Instead the activity falls under a broad category of safety and public nuisance.

“We (city of Clovis) built the skate park last year at Greene Acres Park.” Thomas said. “We are trying to provide them a venue to practice their sport.”

Thomas said the city is considering placing rails around the memorial.

“I don’t know if it’s feasible,” he said, “but we are looking at building something that won’t restrict access but would deter skaters.”