Archived Story

Maplesville deals with vandalism at ballpark

Published 7:29pm Friday, January 18, 2013

Graffiti covering numerous surfaces at Maplesville’s ballpark on Shanks Drive is a problem town officials say could be eliminated as early as Monday.

A Maplesville police officer discovered the graffiti on New Year’s Day and notified street department superintendent Kenny Barrett of the messages inscribed with white spray paint on the park’s press box, music pavilion floor, barbecue pit, playground equipment, restroom doors and surrounding trees.

Police Chief Todd Ingram said police received citizens’ tips based on Facebook posts about who drew the graffiti and questioned the suspects.

Two minors confessed to obtaining the spray paint from the concession stand at the park and drawing the graffiti. They agreed to clean it up under Barrett’s supervision, and their families agreed to reimburse the town for expenses associated with supplies and Barrett’s time spent at the cleanup.

Ingram said no further punishment or legal action would be administered since those responsible cooperated with plans to repair the damage and pay expenses of supplies and labor.

“Total costs will be split equally between the families involved,” Ingram said. “They will have 90 days to pay the total cost in supplies and materials.”

Barrett said the town made a list and photographed all of the surfaces containing graffiti to report to its insurance company before trying to remove or paint over it.

“My estimate is well over $1,000 worth of damage to repair,” Barrett said. “I’m guessing that the carpet is going to be $300 to $400 itself. It could get expensive with cost of repairs when it’s all said and done.”

Before the town reached the cleanup agreement, the Maplesville council discussed the issue at its meeting Jan. 14 and decided to wait on removing the graffiti so the town’s insurance company could assess the damages, but the council also recognized the need to work quickly so that defamatory messages can be removed as soon as possible.

Barrett said the town is responsible for the ballpark’s maintenance and expenses but sometimes receives financial help from Maplesville’s parks board.

In addition to the cost to paint over or chemically remove the spray paint, the time and manpower necessary to complete the job will cut into the street department’s daily responsibilities, Barrett said.

Barrett and another employee are the only two who work in the street’s maintenance department.

“It will interfere with some of our regular scheduled maintenance around town,” he said. “We’re more than happy to accept any volunteers to help us take care of that situation.”

Ingram said town officials have looked into purchasing security cameras for the park but are unsure whether the benefits of having cameras at the park (which is not used at certain times of the year) would outweigh costs incurred to operate the cameras.

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