For the fourth time in the past 10 years, vandals have targeted Camp Fire Cabin at Buena Vista Park, 833 S. Pine St.
Someone tagged the entire north wall of Camp Fire Cabin at Buena Vista Park, 833 S. Pine St., this past weekend. City employees applied primer to the wall Monday, the same day it was reported on the city’s graffiti hotline.
“I think (they) did a great job handling it,” said Alexis Nshamamba, family services coordinator with Good Samaritan Shelter. “They came out two hours after we called and were very friendly.”
The Good Samaritan Shelter is currently running an eight-week summer camp for children in the building.
The grayish-white color of the primer applied by city employees doesn’t match the rest of the building. The stucco building, built in 1935, is beige in color. The blue paint used in the tagging is still barely visible.
On the south wall of the cabin, a banner reads: “Great parks make good neighborhoods.”
City of Santa Maria Recreation Technician Jorge Guevara offered to send his crew out again to paint over the primer if someone supplies paint to match the rest of the building.
Rebecca McClintock, office manager at Camp Fire Central Coast, said the organization plans to round up some matching paint very soon. Although the cabin sits on city property, Camp Fire has sole responsibility for managing and maintaining it.
Vandals have damaged the inside of the cabin two times in the past five years and a third time more than 10 years ago, according to Camp Fire staff.
“The locks and doors are old and not too secure,” said Ken Miles, executive director of Camp Fire Central Coast. “There’s not a lot of lighting around the cabin.”
Miles said a community group called Buena Vista Beautifiers has expressed interest in helping to improve the lighting situation.
“The irony is, that cabin is a place of joy and learning and (self-discovery),” said Miles. “Someone coming from a dark place to diminish that thrill is kind of disappointing, but these are different times than they used to be.”
City Councilman Bob Orach agreed.
“Graffiti on the wall of a nonprofit like that is a slap in the face,” he said.
Miles said the cabin hasn’t been used much over the past six years, but a recently restored floor has heralded in a new era of increased activity.
According to a Camp Fire Central Coast spokeswoman, the Good Samaritan homeless shelter uses the building for youth and family events. It has also been used recently by a disabled veterans group for art therapy, and a church youth group has inquired about using it in the near future.
“Thousands -- maybe tens of thousands -- of children have had the pleasure of enjoying that cabin,” Miles added.
The city declared the cabin an Object of Historical Merit in 2011. Originally located across the street at the Santa Maria High School campus, the building was moved to Buena Vista, Santa Maria’s oldest park, in 1950.
Buena Vista Beautifiers’ Virginia Souza invited anyone interested in improving the park and cabin to get involved.
The group’s next meeting will take place at noon Friday, Aug. 8, at Camp Fire Cabin.