Vandals repeatedly strike accessible park
Published Friday, September 18, 2020 6:13PM EDT Last Updated Friday, September 18, 2020 6:44PM EDT
WINDSOR, ONT. -- A group of teenage vandals have allegedly targeted Harmony In Action, a centre for adults with a developmental or physical challenge.
Executive Director, Elizabeth Esposito says her organization is in the process of making repairs, fencing the accessible playground off and hiring security on a nightly basis. “It’s disheartening.”
The cost is upwards of $20,000 according to Esposito, who says problems began on Sunday. That’s when staff believe picnic tables and gazebos were destroyed. “I had a couple of volunteers here on Monday. They fixed the broken picnic tables, only to come back into work Tuesday morning to find them broken again.”
Esposito tells CTV News security footage showed upwards of 14 presumed teenagers causing the damage. She says they also stacked memorial benches against the garage to climb on the roof, and unscrewed pieces of playground equipment.
“It’s really sad because those in the community and those in the neighborhood that were benefitting from this park are no longer going to be able to.”
Esposito says a report was made to the Windsor Police Service on Monday, which Sgt. Steven Betteridge confirms.
But problems arose again on Wednesday during the group’s annual general meeting. Officials says they went outside to find two teenagers jumping on a shade tarp. “I asked them to get down. They refused to get down, one eventually got down and then the other one just jumped up and down on it like it was a trampoline.”
Local drummer Jeff Burrows is co-organizing a online fundraiser to help.
Earlier this year, The Tea Party drummer’s 1/2 drum marathon saw proceeds go towards the organization.
“I understand teenagers are teenagers, and everyone in their lifetime has done silly and stupid things and things you learned your lesson from. But I never understood the destruction of property.”
So far more than $2,500 has been raised.
“It’s a resilient organization. They’re loved by many and I’m sure things will get sorted out.”