BROADALBIN - Vandals are causing problems at Kenside Park, and local officials have been left to debate what the future of the village park will be.
Vandals, thought to be school-age youths, have caused trouble for village officials and residents by breaking benches, forcing them to be removed, stomping on flower beds and writing obscenities on park property.
Linda Eastman, owner of Linda's Antiques and a Broadalbin Christian Bookstore, said she has been a volunteer park caretaker for many years and is hurt to see this happening to the park.
The wishing well at Kenside Park in Broadalbin, at left, is one of several features at the park that have been the targets of graffiti and vandalism.
Photo by John Borgolini/The Leader-Herald
"It's very disheartening, very disappointing," she said. "It's a small park, but we love it. I see it as an asset to the village. It hurts to see it get basically torn apart."
Mayor Eugene Christopher believes the vandalism has been committed by a group of 15 to 20 local children and said the problem gets worse when school is in session.
"There's a few kids who visit in the summer and sit there. That's fine," he said. "But it becomes a problem during the school year. That's the problem with the world. There's a few bad apples that ruin it for everybody else."
The park does have cameras that overlook it, explained both Christopher and Eastman, but they haven't been able to give officials enough evidence as to who is specifically doing the damage.
Eastman said she had hoped the cameras would help, but it doesn't appear that they do. She agreed problems escalate when school is in session, but she has no problems with young people being in the park.
"I love seeing kids sitting and enjoying the park," she said. "It's the ones writing obscenities, breaking the benches, tearing up the flower beds - it's that inappropriate behavior that needs to be dealt with."
The benches that were destroyed have since been removed from the park, which Eastman said upset many people in the village.
She said she had thought about putting a gazebo and a fence in the park with money raised from plant sales, but it isn't possible now.
"I almost have enough money to put in a gazebo," she said. "[But] there is no way at this time, with what has happened at the park, that it won't get trashed just like the benches, flowers ... I honestly don't know what's going to happen. I am hoping the village will be able to come up with some kind of plan of action to get it somewhat under control. I hope there will be a public movement."
John Borgolini can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.