Citizens urged to help in deterring park vandalism
Vandalism at Lion's Park, located off of 11th Street is becoming such an issue that Boonville City Parks Director Gary Nauman is not ruling out closing the park for some time unless the vandalism ceases.
The City has spent thousands of dollars repairing park infrastructure, including basketball goals, which are constantly being torn down by vandals. The next effort to curve the vandals includes the up and coming installation of four surveillance cameras, which will cost up to $4,000, around the park in hopes of identifying individuals daring to damage the park.
"Young juveniles about 13 years of age are causing a lot of our problems," Nauman said.
Lion's Park has been a topic of discussion for the past 18 months at Boonville City Council meetings and in those months the city has had to replace the basketball goal or backboard five times, which cost about $600 each for a heavy duty goal.
"We have tried to replace the backboards with heavy duty backs or tried to reinforce the goals. They still break them," Nauman added.
He also said there are problems with the picnic tables getting damaged. Nauman said last year three picnic tables were destroyed. The cost savings on the new tables came from the fact that the parks department builds their own tables.
"We have had to paint the table seats black to keep individuals from writing graffiti and obscenities on them," he said.
The parks department is also spending time pressure washing graffiti off of concrete at the skate park.
"This spring we have had several instances where someone has gone into the restrooms and started a fire. We have evidence where they have tried to stuff flammable material through the door and set it on fire as well. It is really started to become an aggravation more than anything," Nauman said.
Nauman has updated the city on the efforts of the parks department and what is being done too deter the vandals. The Boonville Police Department has increased its surveillance of the area, which has proven positive results with the apprehending of individuals doing some of the vandalism. Since they are juveniles, they are handed over to the Juvenile Department.
If Lion's Park did indeed close, Nauman was afraid the vandals would start vandalizing other parks.
"We have had a lot of the neighborhood residents come forward, either by calling us or the police department when they see things happen,” Nauman said.
The police department is currently making two stops a day at the park.
We are working to patrol the area more often and have officer’s in the park when available. We would appreciate anyone who sees anything suspicious to call 911," Boonville Police Chief Bobby Welliver said.
"We need as much help from the community to try to stop this problem," Nauman said.