Community shelters vandalized by fire, human waste

The shelters at Shoemaker Park and City Park were damaged by fire and vandalism last week in two separate incidents.

On April 3, the south-end shelter at City Park was used by a group of youths to camp overnight. Food, garbage and human waste were left behind, the parks and recreation department reported.

On April 6, more destructive damage occurred at Shoemaker Park as two fires were built inside and outside the shelter. The inside fire, caused by burning a pallet in the fireplace, scorched the face of the chimney and plexiglass and melted some of the patio lights. The outside fire was built near larger rocks that were blackened. Plastic was melted into the surrounding grass which was also charred by the fire.

Both parks are maintained by the parks and recreation department. The Shoemaker shelter received new paint and renovations last year. Estimates on the cost of the damage weren't available Monday afternoon.

Two young men took responsibility for the damage at Shoemaker, and the department will work with them to repair the damage, said Lucy Robinson, director of Parks and Recreation.

"Vandalism in our parks is quite common, unfortunately," Robinson said. "It weighs heavy on our team, who work very hard to ensure the parks look great for everyone to enjoy."

Robinson such destructive acts also pull staff away from other projects to make the needed repairs where vandalism has occurred.

The department sent out a reminder that the shelters are not for camping purposes but can be reserved for gatherings such as wedding receptions and other events.

Damage to Parks and Recreation facilities can be reported to the department at 907-874-2444. If someone witnesses vandalism or other misuse, it can be reported to the police.


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