Vandals hit Lucerne's Alpine Park


LUCERNE – Vandals are causing significant damage to new improvements at Alpine Park in Lucerne, and the county's top parks official said it's becoming a costly concern.

Kim Clymire, head of the county's Public Services and Parks and Recreation Departments, said Thursday that vandals have been destroying upgrades to the park almost as quickly as county park staff can complete them.

As examples, Clymire said that since the new $200,000 restroom facility at Alpine Park was completed a few months ago, it has already been vandalized several times, with graffiti painted on the walls and the restroom doors pulled off the hinges.

Then, on Wednesday night, vandals broke off 17 pop-up sprinkler heads in the park's lawn area, the sod for which recently was placed.

“I have six people running 19 parks and trying to build three,” a frustrated Clymire said Thursday morning. “We can't even keep up with what we have to do.”

In his 30 years working in public parks, Clymire said he's seen a lot of vandalism, which unfortunately comes with the territory. He said it's usually a very small group who try to ruin it for the community at large.

Park vandalism is a countywide problem, Clymire said, but it's especially troublesome when it follows so closely on park improvements.

“This is our biggest hit,” he said.

Another serious recent incident involved Nice's Hinman Park, which is still under construction. Clymire said they had concrete forms prepared and a cement truck bringing wet cement to pour into them for park improvements.

When the crews got to the park site, half of the costly forms had been ripped out and broken, said Clymire. The crews had to hustle to try to get what forms they could back in place while trying to keep the cement wet.

Summer usually sees increased vandalism, said Clymire, because more people are out and have more idle time.

“I can't understand the mindset of some of these people,” he said.

Repairs at Alpine Park will be delayed, said Clymire. His staff is busy with new park construction projects at Hammond and Hinman Parks in Nice, Lucerne Harbor in Lucerne and the new Nylander Park in the Oaks, and he's told his staff to stay focused on those new projects.

In the meantime, he said they'll try not to let Alpine Park's new lawn die.

Clymire said he has asked the Lake County Sheriff's Office for more patrol around the Alpine Park area at night, when most of the activity seems to be happening.

So far, they have no tips on who might be doing the damage, and Clymire is asking the community to keep an eye out and call the sheriff's office if they see any suspicious activities around Alpine Park or any other county facilities.

He said he hopes that the vandals will leave the new parks alone.

“I'm optimistic but I'm not naïve,” he said.

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