Vandals destroying city park - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Du Quoin, IL

Vandals destroying city park

Vandals destroying city park
By: Arnold Wyrick

Du Quoin, IL - The first sign of trouble at the Keyes City Park in Du Quoin came when someone pulled some of the landscaping up around the Veteran's Memorial Circle.  So city crews replaced the plants with decorative rocks.

"Well now they're taking the rocks and throwing them at the lights around the memorial and the lights for the flags.  So now we've had to  put some guards around the lights.  And replace the lens and the light bulbs.  But we're going to solve that problem, we're going to pull up the rocks and fill it in with concrete," says Dale Spencer Director of Public Works in Du Quoin.

But the vandalism in recent weeks doesn't stop there.  They've torn down the basketball hoops.  And written foul language on the park pavilion and picnic tables.

"I think they should have to paint it.  If they do it and get caught they should have to clean it up.  I think that would be a bigger lesson then to get jail time," says Rhonda Heatherly of Du Quoin.

Some parents won't even let their kids come out and play in the park in the evening, because of other activities they've seen taking place in the park.

"Sexual things, in the dark guys pulling up their britches, and the girls straightening out their cloths.  That goes on quite often.  But she don't come to the park.  She's got a pool at home and air conditioning.  She can stay home where it's safe," says Mary Barnes of Du Quoin.

That's not what city leaders had in mind when they tapped into taxpayer dollars to make improvements to the park.

"We're going to spend $45,000 on new playground equipment.  We just spend $85,000 on this skateboard park over here.  We're trying to give the youth and adults something to be proud of.  Something we can all be proud of.  And then you have a few people who just want to abuse it," Spencer said.

But police and city leaders hope to put a stop to the vandalism.  They're going to invest an additional $2,500 in salaries for added patrols in the park.  If they catch someone vandalizing things it could cost that person, or persons up to a $500 fine and restitution for the damage.

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