The laundry list of damage has cost the township thousands of dollars, and Fruitport Charter Township Board members are taking steps to curb what they call a disturbing trend.
Township Parks Department employee Dale Lee said it’s unfortunate that vandals are taxing the parks’ resources.
“It’s a shame that parents don’t teach kids how to respect people’s property,” he said.
The vandalism began last spring when somebody broke into the park’s utility shed. Tools were stolen and, even though the township had insurance, they still had to pay a $500 deductible. Then it happened again.
John Hulka, another employee of the Parks Department, said that thousands of dollars in tools and equipment have been stolen during the past year. These items include two or three chainsaws and buckets of brass. Hulka estimated the total cost in materials to be about $4,000.
Vandals also broke into the bathroom of Pine Park via the skylights. Township Supervisor Brian Werschem said he believes they expected to find yet another tool shed, but only discovered toilets.
Beyond thefts, damage has also marred the peaceful park.
Graffiti is scrawled on the baseball dugouts, and off-road vehicles created ruts in the athletic fields.
The most recent incident occurred just a few weeks ago when vandals smashed the Consumers Energy electric meter with a baseball bat. That meter has since been protected via a wooden housing structure.
The park is not the lone target. Pine Hill Cemetery has also been damaged.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.
— By R.J. Wolcott