Park asks for help against vandals
Before the gates even opened July 8 at John Venezia Community Park in north Colorado Springs, the city’s first new park in 12 years, yellow hammerand-sickle and red anarchy signs had been smeared across the park’s buildings.
Construction workers arrived some mornings to find their equipment vandalized or stolen, lights stripped of their copper and merciless spray-painting across many of the park’s yet-to-be-used amenities, said Kurt Schroeder, park maintenance and operations manager.
The ranch-theme park near Briargate Parkway and North Union Boulevard has hardly been open a month, and the vandals have yet to let up, Schroeder said. They’ve hit the park “significantly” about six times. So Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services is asking the City Council to fast-track a $450,000 appropriation for security cameras to curtail the problem.
“When you’ve got something brand new like this and before it’s even open people are hitting it, it’s really disappointing,” Schroeder said. “If you’ve been up there, it’s a fantastic facility. And if this has started already, it usually won’t stop.”
The park was even hit the night before its July 8 debut, Schroeder said. The next morning, Parks employees scrambled to cover the damage before the public arrived to scope out the city’s $13 million investment.
The park has sustained about $80,000 in damage to date, said parks director Karen Palus.