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Miller Park Vandalized

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Surveillance cameras will be installed to deter vandals

By Leslie Moore

 

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The closure of Miller Park over the Fourth of July weekend because of heavy rains and flooding wasn't enough to deter vandals from entering and damaging park property.

During cleanup on Monday after the water retreated, park supervisor Bill Brewer said it was discovered that a toilet in the women's restroom had been blown up with firecrackers.

"You try to have a nice park for everyone, but some have to come in and tear it up," Brewer said.

According to Brewer, replacing the toilet will be a half-day job and will cost about $200 to replace.

This is not the first incidence of vandalism at Miller Park, and Brewer says vandalism has plagued the park for several years.

"We had to put new swings in about two weeks ago after the chains and seats were cut," Brewer said.

He said it cost about $500 to replace the swings, and already, some of the chains have been wrapped around the bar a few times. Brewer said this does not happen accidentally.

A new gutter system installed on the concessions building has been beat in and nearly ripped from the wall. Plywood now covers the windows of the building after the glass was broken.

Brewer said the restrooms are a primary target of the vandals. Last year, the women's restroom was repainted and new lights were installed.

"They beat the lights out the next day," Brewer said.

Sinks have also been ripped out which forced Brewer to resort to installing steel strips to anchor the sinks to the walls.

"It's just disappointing about the money we have to spend on sinks and plumbing in the bathroom," Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young said.

Keeping the park free of graffiti is also a constant struggle for park officials.

"They write graffiti all over the dugout," Brewer said.

And rubber-coated picnic tables and benches are now littered with burns and dents. Brewer said it costs anywhere from $800 to $900 to replace just one table. 

Brewer said the park used to be closed at night, but during the summer season, it is open 24 hours. And because of the late-night ball games, Brewer said the bathrooms are not locked.

"The vandalism has actually went down some since we started leaving it open," Brewer said. "It helps having a little foot traffic going through all the time."

Young said he has been very focused on making improvements to the park because the public relies on it for recreation.

"It's kind of disappointing how some individuals are treating our parks," Young said. "And we want to protect them and keep them in very good shape for everyone to enjoy."

Sometime over the weekend, Young said, an old couch and chair were dumped at Trace Creek softball park.

Young said he appreciates that 99 percent of the people who use the park take care of it and pick up after themselves. He said it is the other 1 percent that the city has to worry about.

"We're just getting a lot of vandalism in the park and we're in the process of getting cameras and getting them located in various places in the park," Young said.

Young said the cameras will be ordered within the next few weeks. The cost of the cameras is unknown because the number of cameras and recorders needed hasn't yet been determined.

Brewer said signs letting the public know the park will be under surveillance have already been printed.

Campbellsville Police Chief Tim Hazlette said vandalism of a public park is considered criminal mischief. Depending on the cost and severity of the damage, Hazlette said vandals could be forced to pay fines and, in some cases, might even face jail time.

Young said he hopes the surveillance will help deter would-be vandals.

"I just want everyone to know that we're not going to stand for that anymore," Young said. "The public enjoys these areas and we don't want [the park] abused."