C’dale offers reward for vandal info
CARBONDALE The town of Carbondale is committed to stopping vandalism.Vandals caused $3,000 to $5,000 worth of damage to public bathrooms in Carbondale parks over the last couple of months, said Larry Ballenger, director of public works.”We get vandalism throughout the year, but nothing really this destructive,” Ballenger said.The destruction rankled municipal officials enough that the town advertised a $500 reward in the Post Independent for anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of people destroying park bathrooms and equipment.The damage included pulling down stall dividers, smashing paper dispensers, sinks and toilets. Vandals who brought in large stones to smash toilets completely destroyed some bathrooms, Ballenger said. Sopris, Gianinetti and Hendrick parks all sustained damage. “We think it’s younger kids doing it,” Ballenger said, adding that he hopes other kids who knew who was doing it might turn them in for the reward.Ballenger said the town has talked with the police department to see if officers can conduct evening patrols of the parks and bathrooms.”They say it’s not really practical for their officers,” he said.And he realizes police often have more important tasks.”Something like this is very, very difficult for the police officers to watch,” he said. “The town is also considering hiring what we term as a ‘park ranger.'”Carbondale had considered installing timed magnetic locking devices on bathroom doors last year, but determined the expense of approximately $14,000 was too high. “We’re going to be building our bathroom wall stalls out of concrete now, and replacing toilets and urinals with stainless steel units,” Ballenger said. “Unfortunately, they’ll look like prison bathrooms.”In 2004, kids kicked the heads off of sprinklers and irrigation devices all summer, causing around $25,000 worth of damage, Ballenger said.”We never did catch them,” he said. “It’s just expenditure of taxpayer dollars. It’s just kind of sad.”Anyone with information should contact Carbondale police at 963-2733. The department promises confidentiality.
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