String of Vandalism Occurs at Fairmont City Parks - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

String of Vandalism Occurs at Fairmont City Parks

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It is a problem that seems to repeat itself at the Fairmont city parks - vandalism, from playgrounds and ball fields to signage and trash cans.

"It's public property. It's for the enjoyment of anyone and everyone but we all have to take care of the park," said Robin Gomez, Fairmont City Manager.

At Windmill Park, signs were destroyed and shingles torn off of roofs. Over on Fifth Street a car drove right through the playground, leaving tires marks. The park at Bellview was even set on fire several years ago.

Fairmont Police Chief Steve Shine said vandalism and arsons like these have been a problem for years.

City Manager Robin Gomez said the money to repair it all comes from the city's public works and parks maintenance budget.

"It's been mostly minor but it does come with a cost and we have to repair it and it is more of an annoyance and ultimately a lack of respect by people caring for the assets that everybody can use," Gomez said.

Destruction of property in West Virginia carries a possible fine of up to $500, jail time for up to a year or both. If the destroyed property is worth more than $2500 dollars, those penalties increase.

Gomez said residents and park users can help by reporting this vandalism if they see it.

"We've asked some of the neighbors people that walk in and out of there to be the eyes and ears and let us call 911 if you see any suspicious activity or anybody that appears to be damaging anything," he said.

By July, cameras will be added at Windmill Park to beef up security.

"We're going to add some surveillance out there. we're going to have to put signage and cameras and track activity that way and let it be known that the area is under surveillance," Gomez said. 

The funding for the security cameras will come from the new fiscal year budget.

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