Urbana parks hit by vandals

Urbana parks hit by vandals

URBANA — Vandals have caused more than $1,500 in damage at two Urbana parks this spring, and the park district is appealing to those using the parks to report suspicious activity.

"Every spring, we get a spate of vandalism," park district spokeswoman Dana Mancuso said. But with an unseasonably warm spring, vandals have hit the parks earlier and, at a couple of parks, "it's been definitely more than we expected," she said.

At King Park, vandals have spray-painted the shelters, stuffed clothing into toilets to make them overflow, ignited used toilet paper and started small fires inside restrooms and written "extensive" graffiti on playground equipment and picnic tables.

At Prairie Park, copper grounding wire from light poles has been stolen, at a replacement cost of $300, with pending expenses expected to double that figure.

The cost isn't the only problem.

"When we have to take time to repair damage and clean up, we are not able to stay on schedule with regular cleaning and maintenance throughout the park district," said Tim Bartlett, park district superintendent of planning and operations, in a press release.

"The community can make an immediate impact" toward preventing vandalism, Mancuso said, by calling district officials or police. You can call police by dialing 911, or the park district at 344-9583.

"The longer we let this go on without report," Bartlett said in the release, "the more money it costs to take care of — more of your money. Do not assume that someone else will call about what you see going on. Take action right away."

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Sid Saltfork wrote on May 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Don't rush to repair them.  Let them go.  After a while, the neighborhoods will take ownership in their local parks.  They will start reporting people in the park after dark.  They will start reporting vandals.  Don't fix them until the people who use them start being good citizens; and assist the police, and park districts.  If you repair them now; they will just destroy them again in the near future.

ronaldo wrote on May 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

That's not the first thought that came to my mind, but I find your idea intriquing and definitely worthy of further discussion.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I thought about big live-traps; and releasing them in Indiana; but it might be inhumane.  I lived across the street from a park in Urbana for years.  If your going to buy a house, I would advise you not to buy one close to a park.  In fact, re-consider Urbana.  The firefighters, and police were good; but the city administration was goofy.  They want to be like Berkley; but end up like Cleveland.