Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Director Mark Westermeier said the department has been proactive about tackling a growing amount of graffiti in area parks.
“While the amount of vandalism is minimal compared to other parks systems, we have seen more cases and we try to repair any damage quickly so it deters any future vandalism,” he said.
Last year, Westermeier said someone set a fire in the restroom at West Park, so CCPR had begun a process of installing security cameras in park restrooms to catch any future vandals. Cameras were just installed during the week leading up to Memorial Day. But before the installation could be complete and the recording equipment began going live, unknown vandals caused considerable damage to the restroom at the playground at Central Park West Commons at 920 Central Park Drive West.
Sinks were pulled off walls, leading to broken pipes spraying water everywhere. Mirrors were smashed, leaving broken glass on the ground. Soap dispensers and changing stations were destroyed. Sharpie marks were scrawled on the walls. Toilet paper was removed and thrown around the playground. Both bathrooms were affected, and there was a temporary closure on May 29 as park crews cleaned up the damage.
The maintenance team cleaned up the playground and splash pad by early afternoon and got the restroom into a condition where it could be safely used, leading the park to be reopened. Additional repairs will be needed and costs aren’t yet finalized.
Westermeier said it’s unknown if insurance will cover the damages.
Michael Klitzing, CCPR chief operating officer, encourages Carmel residents to help keep an eye on public areas and report any future suspicious activity.
“It is disappointing to see the lack of respect for public property or for the children for whom the space is intended,” he said.