The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Vandals pound away at city parks; Parks’ super says end of school year typically a peak time for park damage

In City Hall on June 2, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Vandals are beating us up, says Dave Smith, city parks superintendent.

The list of city parks victimized this past weekend and the weekend before is nearly too long to list, says Smith.

Smith says Riverside Park and the city’s skate park and restroom there have been particularly hard hit. Meanwhile, racist graffiti, he said, has been splattered in the rest rooms at Van Vechten Park.

He calls the damage “extremely heavy” a weekend ago and “very heavy” during the weekend just ended. He terms the racist spray-painting “troubling.”

Unfortunately, he adds, vandalism is part of the reality of running a park system.

The period when youngsters get out of school in the spring, he says, can be the toughest time for parks.

“Those first few days, when it turns warm, it’s like a shark smelling blood,” Smith says of youngsters. “They just get wild. We’ve taken this kind of licking before. It’s not unprecedented. But it will get your attention.”


  1. I hope the police get the vandals. The City has had a rough year (ice, flooding, etc.) and this criminal nonsense needs to stop. Hopefully someone in the community will turn them in. There may be a reward if you do so. See the following web link.

  2. I remember back in the 90’s the CRPD had major problems with graffiti. They resolved the issue by IDing over 100 taggers and their MO’s. One officer even made it a point to talk to most of these people and some of their parents. Under the leadership of a certain police captain things were quickly gotten under control. This was a very sucessful program and was done with no additonal funding etc.

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