MOUNT VERNON — For teenagers, finding something to do on a Friday night can be a challenge in a small town without a mall or a community-sponsored teen center.



Joshua Morrison: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @


Rules: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don’t attack other commenters personally and keep your language decent. If a comment violates our comments standards, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member.

24 Responses to “Vandalism, loitering problems downtown”

  1. miriam st. jean

    Am amused by those who suggested that teens “do homework” or “hang out with parents” or whatever on a weekend – don’t you people remember what it was like to be a teenager? good gawd

    I do agree that the picture painted by the news article hinted that all teens “hanging” were all troublemakers and that the article was biased – or written perhaps by someone living on retirement funds with no sense of humor.

    If the city is that concerned, they should fund a rec facility where teens can feel comfortable (after all, hasn’t Mayor Mavis stated over and over that the city is financially sound?) – City Council should consider pursuing an avenue wherein the city could help fund avenues of entertainment for teens – geez – maybe someone in the Mayor’s office could apply for grants to support such a venture – after all, if the Mayor can aid the Woodward in obtaining grants, why on earth can’t his office aid in obtaining a grant for facilities where our community youth can feel comfortable?

    Mr. Mayor………what say you? City Council…….what say YOU?

    These youth represent our future – be proactive enough to help them out, rather than listening to a bunch of whiners who have forgotten what it’s like to be young.

  2. Jwowza Doedee

    I get what you’re trying to say, but I have one concern: teens often feel like they want to get away from their parents and that’s exactly what they should do with the empty half of the old Big Bear.

  3. Jwowza Doedee

    @ mom: maybe some kids have parents who don’t want them home, or are sick of being stuck at home all the time. Also, did you ever consider that not everyone has the money for fancy tvs and video game systems. You shouldn’t punish everyone because some parents don’t care. And another thing: NOBODY watches “video tapes” anymore!!!

  4. J Doe

    Yea, I can agree that there have been some problems at The Escape Zone and the “hillbilly parking lot”. But you still need to consider that teens need something to do. And those of you say they could work, do homework, and hang out with parents: I have friends who either can’t work/already work and have parents that want nothing to do with them. On the other hand: who wants to stay at home with their parents and do homework??? If you aren’t into sports, there isn’t much do do on the weekends. Teens need a place where they can hang out for free/low price with their friends and not have to worry about overbearing parents and bratty little kids bothering them. As long as that happens, there should be little to no problems in the future.

  5. Al Case

    Lets make sure all the kids grow up with memories of what a bad place to live this is by needlessly hassling them so that they will move away as soon as they’re old enough and never come back….that way all the local business can fail and downtown can turn into antique markets. Oh wait, that already happened didn’t it ?

  6. Old Timer

    Dear Mom. I remember in the early 60’s the teenagers from all over would come to Mt. Vernon and cruise from Beck’s Drive-In (where the Burger King now is, or close enough) to Clippy’s Drive-In via going up South Main and out West High St. The average speed was about 5 mph. And the kids without cars would walk South Main Street. Talk about loitering. And besides, what Teenager wants to hang out with their parents? Even if the parents make plans to do something fun. We couldn’t get our 16 year old son to go to King’s Island with the rest of the family. He turned out OK. And so did I.

  7. red dragon hawk

    let them be back on the square….at least they are visible from the police parking garage

  8. Mom

    I wonder why the parents, guardians, whoever aren’t watching out for their kids. Why don’t the teens hang out at their homes with their friends? They can play games, watch movies, play videos, eat and all that. Probably for free too. Or do the caregivers just don’t care anymore? It doesn’t take a village, it takes a parent or caregiver.

  9. MVParent

    A small percentage of the teens are trouble-makers… you’ll have that in any environment (school, WalMart, Escape Zone, etc) where kids are bored. This article has made it appear that ALL the kids hanging out downtown are fighting, being destructive, and just generally being a nuisance. That is NOT the case at all. As usual, the trouble-makers are ruining it for everyone else. Remember cruising downtown on the weekends? A few idiots ruined that. Where else are our teens supposed to socialize?

  10. Tina Furnis

    This is OLD news. This has always been a problem in Mt. Vernon. And then when a place would open up for the kids to hang out there were always those few bad apples that would ruin it for everyone else. Kids will be kids but vandalism is wrong. Is it really the small town persona? What do kids in large cities do?

  11. Joe

    “A village to raise a child,” Didn’t Hillary Clinton say that? A great role model she has turned out to be……………..How about responsible parenting as a solution?

  12. Diana

    Last time I checked, you could have a paper route, mow, dog walking, and you can be just about any age to do these things. The reason we have so many lawncare services in this Country, is that our kids are lazy….NOT ALL, but it appears those getting into trouble are. All 8 of our children had paper routes or mowed lawns and shoveled during the winter, All of them did homework, yes even on a Friday and Saturday night….and once again you want people to hand out something to these kids….pay their way into the movies…OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

  13. mike wazauski

    Same old crap different generation. I’ve been hearing the same complaint since I was cruizing and hang’n out back in the early 80’s as a teen and when my kids cruized and hung out. Never mind the fact I worked, bought gas, food and other necessities to help the “local businesses”. City council didn’t do anything except erect the infamous “Gate”. They aren’t gonna give the kids anything to do unless u r into baseball, softball, or some other sport organized by someone else. Why don’t we just put gates all around downtown and call our selves a “gated community”. I’m sick and tired of hearing this again and again…

  14. Kim

    This has been going on for years. Back in the mid 70s my friend and I would walk to the square, sit and drink a coke and talk with friends. THEN the cops started to patrol us like we were harden criminals. Like today, I’m sure there are alot more serious crimes they could be working on, but it’s so much easier to look like they’re doing their jobs when they harass kids. That’s just the truth. People need to remember that many of these kids that you look down upon are working, paying taxes and going to school. They are not all bad kids. Go after the trouble makers and leave the rest alone! In this economy, the cops would be better used to go after meth labs, drug dealers, and God only knows what other problems this town has. Stop giving all kids a bad rap.

  15. John Q. Public

    When I was a teen we had 5 different drive-in outside movie places to go to. Nowadays the kids have nowhere to go, so what are they suppossed to do? I feel sorry for them.

  16. Tamara

    Wow, this is a flash back for me. When I was growing up a few moons ago we were saying there was nothing to do. The Curtis complained because of kids hanging out on the square and driving “cruising” up and down Main Street. We would sit around and talk to our friends. There were certain sections for different groups. The hillbillies, or rednecks, always were down at the parking lot on the corner of Ohio and Main. There was nothing else to do. The Escape Zone opened a little late for me. The skating rink cost too much and was too far out. The movie theater, again cost too much…and this is when it was still downtown, even worse now. What else is there to do besides loiter downtown and goof off with your friends??

    Maybe instead of complaining about it and inssulting all of these kids, we as the grown-ups and one’s that vote, should really push for a kid/teen friendly place for our kids to hang out and goof off at. For years we discussed the old Big Bear store as a place that would be ideal for a teen/family center. Then Krogers bought it and moved in. Now there is another old Big Bear store that is still half empty. What about using that?? An arcade, a $1.50 movie theater, all kinds of things that not just teens could get into on a Friday and Saturday night, but families could do as well. Some restrictions would have to be in place, but this is something that the entire community could get behind. The entire county, as villages surrounding Mt. Vernon have teenagers too.

  17. Alumni

    Teens got hoooooooope
    Teens got got chaaaaaaaange
    Teens got stim-u-lus
    Who could ask for anything more?

    (sung to the tune of “Who could ask for anything more”

  18. bdub

    Oh 4 crying out loud ? ? ? i’d say most of em are between 12 and 15 which don’t u have 2 b 16 to get a work permit ? Homework on a friday and sat night ? have u lost your mind ? who does that ? And most of these kids probably arent on the upper class scale as youself so u want them off the street Diana ? How bout stand up @ the movie theatre ( bout the ONLY thing to do around here ) and buy some of these underprivelaged folks a ticket and some popcorn 2 while your @ it ????? oh good grief lol

  19. Alumni

    Circa 1964—–Basement of former Harpers ? Perkins Pancake ? restaurants—across from Douds ? funeral home—-called “The Inferno—-run by Ron Woolson and his dad—-Police friendly—bands—-dancing—also fun at the armory—-if you could not find anything to do back then, you were a mental defective

  20. Scott

    I made the mistake of parking on main street one evening and the local crowd in the parking lot saw fit to smash out my car windows. The police told me it was my problem. Glad after 7 years they are going to do something about it.

  21. Cook

    Obviously, we need something to get teens off the streets. The escape zone was never a place I wanted to go because there were always fights outside the building and scary looking people. The same goes for this “hillbilly parking lot”. I know a lot of people that used to go there while I was in school and lots of trouble was started there, some ending in court dates. On any afternoon or evening, you see teens being escorted into the security room of Walmart because they keep stealing things. It’s a rush and risk for them, something exciting because they have nothing else to do. We really need a mall and more youth based places for teens to go to let out their energy. I don’t know how many times my husband and I walked around walmart and then went to taco bell because there was nothing to do.

    Mount Vernon likes their quiet coffee shops and such but the community has to remember that it takes a village to raise a child and if you don’t help them be good and do constructive things, you won’t have good kids.

  22. Diana

    Oh for crying out loud, we are not ‘sweeping them under a rug’; although, it appears a few should be…are you telling me they cannot find something else to do….Job? Volunteer? Homework?…..besides loitering (law against that?), vandalism (law against that?).