Vandals are destroying a community park in the village, tearing up flower beds, smashing benches, ripping down a surrounding fence and destroying a wishing well.
The problem has gotten so bad that the village has permanently removed the benches and a community volunteer who maintains the park is considering abandoning the effort.
“I have not written a resignation letter yet, but when you put so much time and effort into something it breaks my heart,” said volunteer Linda Eastman. “I do have to sit and wonder if I want to put this time and effort into this when it is not appreciated.”
Eastman has cared the park for years and holds annual fundraisers to cover maintenance costs. She puts the cost of the most recent vandalism at several hundred dollars.
Mayor Eugene Christopher said a group of youths is behind the vandalism, although no one has been charged. He said surveillance cameras in the park have not captured any acts of vandalism. However, a surveillance camera belonging to a nearby private business did capture footage and has offered authorities some leads, officials said.
In addition, the village has added extra police patrols near the park, but Christopher said the effort is costly as the village has only a part-time police force.
Eastman said vandalism has been escalating over the last five years. The most recent incident happened two weekends ago, when vandals destroyed wooden park benches and ripped out flowers. Vandals also ripped up and trampled an 18-foot diameter wishing well in the park. The village removed the benches several days later and may also remove the well, Christopher said.
The park was established decades ago. It is about the size of a residential lot and contains five flower beds, a monument to doctors in the village, a wishing well and formerly benches.
“It is small but it is ours,” Eastman said.