Vandals strike City Park over Columbus weekend
Police are looking for vandals who defaced the new bathrooms and inline skating surface pavement in Warwick City Park with grotesque images and explicit messages over the Columbus Day weekend.
Richard Crenca, Director of Public Works, discovered the first set of vandalism to the skating surface was on Sunday morning. It is believed to have been done Saturday night, as there was a softball tournament nearby and no one had noticed it.
“I saw it Sunday morning. My highway superintendent sent me a picture of it,” said Crenca, “I didn’t see [the bathrooms] until this morning.”
Crenca pointed out the grotesque, violent images and messages labeled on the wall of a newly installed composting bathroom just across from the skating rink. The disturbing graffiti references the recently released Stephen King film “It” and the gruesome murder of a young boy named “Georgie” by the main villain, Pennywise. The vandals added guns and other threatening imagery not seen in the film.
The bathrooms are self-composting, eco-friendly restrooms powered by a large solar panel on the roof. They replaced the port-a-johns that had been there until recently.
“We just put [the bathrooms] in about a month ago,” says Crenca, “The three of them came from a grant from DEM. The three of them cost $183,000 together.”
Holly Weber, Director of Parks and Recreation, was on the scene to survey the damage to the new additions to City Park. Both the skating rink and the bathrooms were funded with DEM grants.
“We get quite a bit of spray paint,” said Weber.
“We put vandal-proof paint and seals on the [Rocky Point] arch and other stuff,” says Tom McGovern, Department of Public Works maintenance technician, “you can take a power washer and get the paint off, but not this stuff. Power washers take everything off.”
“The bathrooms are a good investment,” says Weber. “They improved the quality of the park. It’s good for the environment and saves money in the long-run.”
“The old rink and pavement had huge cracks and holes everywhere,” said Crenca, “it was dangerous. You couldn’t use it safely.”
The new skating rink will be the same size as the old one and will be installed soon, says Crenca, “and we just put down this [new pavement] in August, too.”
“It’s disheartening,” says Weber. “You try to improve things for the community and someone just ruins it. Now we just fix it and move forward.”
McGovern and the Public Works Department plans to paint over the graffiti this week and is trying to find those responsible for the vandalism.
“I’m hoping that someone sees the paper and finds out who did this,” says Crenca.
But Crenca still has a positive look about things, despite his frustration. “You know, we can fix it, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s just very aggravating,” says Crenca. “There’s no sense to it. There’s no reason for that to happen but it does.”
All those with information related to the vandalism are encouraged to call the Warwick Police Department at (401) 486-4200.