Dear PoPville – Should Columbia Heights Fountain be Better Protected?

Dear PoPville,

A year ago I wrote in asking if the Columbia Heights fountain should be protected from damage from skateboarders. As per usual there was probably a 50/50 split saying yes it should be protected, the fountain was brand new and should not be damaged. The other half was arguing for skateboarder’s rights and yuppies should apparently move away if they want nice things. Well, it’s a year later and if you walk over the fountain you’ll notice there are broken or chipped tiles on every other square foot or so. Granted the tiles can break from absolutely anything but the most obvious and highest level of abuse I’ve ever noticed is from skateboards.

Should we keep letting this happen untill the tiles are all broken? Or until all the fountain heads break?

31 Comment

  • Have you seen a skateboard actually break a tile? Oh, I didn’t think so. I think you are just anti-skateboarders. The fountain has been designed to allow foot, bike, and other traffic to pass through it. If it were not meant to be used in this way, it would not be possible to walk on it, through it, over it.

    • T

      The pressure exerted by foot/bicycle traffic is radically different from that of a skateboard wheel. I highly doubt the fountain was “designed” to withstand skateboard traffic.

      • brookland_rez

        I think the cause is fat yuppie women in high heels. Too much weight concentrated in that little heel.

        • I am not sure even what a yuppie is anymore but I can say that most of the women in columbia heights that are larger in size do not fall into the young urban professional category. The high heel set, like most young professionals in the city, are pretty trim.

    • Yes, I have actually. About a month ago while sitting there having coffee I saw some genius jump his board onto the granite “sitting area”, slide along it and jump down to the tile and a chunk of tile go flying. I call him genius because he landed in a way that eff’ed up his foot or ankle to the point where he called someone to come get him.

      And no, I can guarantee you it wasn’t designed for jumping skateboards. Rolling skateboard, bike, stroller, walker = 1 thing. The impact created by those tiny little wheels is another.

      But hey, whatever man…don’t be such a square. It doesn’t matter that that thing cost a fortune and continues to cost a fortune to run and maintain, let us do whatever the heck we want to do. If that entails throwing my trash and chicken bones on the ground where I stand (Columbia Heights trash problem has gotten epic of late…last week it was “end of days bad”), or breaking crap that isn’t mine, then thats the way it is going to be.

      • Good. I’m glad that’s settled. Although I would prefer if you didn’t drop your trash and chicken bones in front my house, since I try to keep it clean.

      • plus! i heard that skateboarders listen to loud music! stay off my lawn, you punks!

        i think skaters and chipped tiles add character to our neighborhood. keep it up.

        NB: the “sliding along” thing is called a “grind”.

        • The most enjoyment I see out of this fountain is kids in the summer playing there, often in bare feet. For a lot of these kids, this is probably the only summer cool down type activity available to them. I think it is nice and good. Let’s not F the thing up. I am cool with skateboarding right up to the point that it becomes destructive. I would let skaters skate wherever on public property. Don’t run people over and don’t destroy the property and we are cool. Is that really an issue MJ and Sven?

      • “It doesn’t matter that that thing cost a fortune and continues to cost a fortune to run and maintain”

        Sorry, point of information: Who bears this cost? Is it an actual public park, or is it instead a privately-owned space open to the public as a condition of zoning variances for the condos or something like that? Just curious. Because I might care if it were a public park that public monies maintain, though I might care less if it’s a privately-owned plaza that someone else pays for.

  • Not really sure what you can do about the problem (if it is indeed the problem). Putting up chains around the fountain like in Silver Spring looks a lot worse to me than having a few chipped tiles. It’s also a lot less inviting having it separated like that.

  • I don’t really care who uses it, including skateboarders.

    That said, if I see a skateboarder damaging it, the skateboard is going up his ass.

  • There is a huge skateboard park not far away from here (on 11th, in Shaw). You’d think folks could utilize that, considering the city invested a ton of resources in creating a large park specially dedicated to the relatively small population of skateboarders in the area.

    • That might be not unlike telling someone to climb the climbing wall at the gym instead of an actual rock face. It’s more challenging and more fun.

  • the city needs more skateparks.

    • at least they aren’t trying to remove the free one the maloof brothers donated to the city? oh and were still not allowed to skate it too!!?! yeah… I guess I will go back to columbia heights and chip up your precious tiles.

      Oh and last I checked bathroom and kitchen tiles can easily chip and get damaged? This is because of variant weather conditions effecting the adhesive that keeps the tile on the ground. Anyone that has ever set tile knows that stepping on loose title will damage it, so as the weather changes in our beautiful city so does the grout weaken, especially when it snows 2 feet and then a few days later is 90 degrees.

      Oh and skateboarders cause potholes too!

      But what do I know I’m just a retarded skateboard genius.

    • The city needs more dog skateparks. My labradoodle Chopin gets very depressed when he cannot skateboard. He doesn’t weigh enough to chip the tiles, so I may take him to the Col Heights fountain.

  • The beautiful, graceful Dupont Circle fountain has been damaged by skateboarders.

    Tragedy of the Commons.

  • If chipped fountain tiles are your biggest concern in life, you need to expand your horizons.

    • If you care about protecting our common spaces from the thoughtlessness of a few spoilers … your horizons are broader than Anon above.

  • No need for a fence like Silver Spring, has some lovely decorative pieces that would look nice around the fountain and prevent the jumping and slamming of boards on the tiles.

  • The youth needs a way to stay entertained, engaged. They need something to believe in. Chipped tiles are a miniscule sacrifice for what our community gains by giving the youth a reason to get together other than drugs and gangs.

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