Skatepark art to honor Marshfield teen
BY MIKE WARREN
MARSHFIELD — A Marshfield alderman is spearheading an effort to memorialize a teenager with special artwork in the city’s skate park.
Mike O’Reilly presented the idea to the rest of the Common Council, during its Nov. 22 meeting. In the end, the Council signed off on the creation of a special committee which will work over the winter to come up with a plan for placing artwork at the skate park in honor of Cam Kirschbaum. The artwork is intended to replace spray-painted memorials to Cam left by his many friends, neighbors and loved ones on the walls of the ramps at Marshfield Skate Park, in the city’s Braem Park at Cedar-and-Ives.
“I would be willing to head up a committee to put this together so there’s no expense to the city of Marshfield, to clean up what’s there, to replace, cover, whatever we would come up with,” O’Reilly told his Council colleagues. “I personally believe that the skate park would be much more attractive to the community with some color involved, with input from the children that attend that park a lot, anyone that would be willing to help, to develop a proper display at the park, and I would suggest that we get the kids involved with the whole process, the designing, the painting, the vinyl, whatever we come up with,” O’Reilly added. “But again, I would stress that it’s going to eliminate any cost to the city of Marshfield for cleanup, for repainting, for anything they wanted to do, and myself or some group that I put together will gladly go through this process over the winter and move forward with that in the spring.”
Alderman Natasha Tompkins urged the Council to proceed, but through the proper channels.
“I think that public art is a wonderful addition to any community,” Tompkins said. But she urged any design proposals go through the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Committee. “We want to make sure that it’s a standard of excellence and that it’s something that really is just…you know, people say ‘Wow this is so well done.’ When you talk about the committee, I did talk to one of the high school teachers who teaches ceramics and painting. Very well loved. He has spent his career helping teens what they see in their head actually actualize, which is a really hard thing to do. And so that’s his profession and he’s very willing to help with this as well. So, I think that there are artists in our community who would be willing to help with this, and make it something that is very positive,” Tompkins added.
The committee will include O’Reilly and several community members at-large.
The artwork will be designed to memorialize Cam Kirschbaum. The 16-year-old died Oct. 18 from an accidental drug overdose. “He ingested some Fentanyl apparently,” said Cam’s father Tommy Kirschbaum, in a Nov. 22 interview with Hub City Times. “It was the last week of September, and he was acting really funny,” Kirschbaum added. “So, I asked him, ‘What’s going on with you?’ And so I gave him a drug test, and it actually came up negative. But he was honest with me. He told me, ‘Dad, I was messing around with these pills for, like, a month. Thank God you noticed it. I felt like I was addicted to them.’ I took him out of school. (I) took his phone. Tried to get him in treatment. No one would take him because he wasn’t 18 and he hadn’t committed a crime.”
A few weeks later, Kirschbaum said his son had an argument with a friend online, “and he decided that he was upset enough that he was going to seek out another one of these pills. And the pill that was given to him was a pressed pill. It was supposed to be, an Oxycontin I’m assuming is what he thought it was,” Kirschbaum said. “We found the rest of it and it turned out that it was Fentanyl.”
Kirschbaum also says Cameron’s involvement with pills represents less than a month of his life. “My son wasn’t shooting heroin in his neck. He wasn’t a junkie like you would think a junkie is. He was a child that was upset one day and was given a pill and literally died. This is an accidental OD. This was an experiment. And if these children wouldn’t have spray-painted the skate park no one would’ve ever heard about it.”