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Director: Vandalism a problem at Sylacauga’s public parks

Damaged table at Sylacauga's Noble Park

A picnic table with a bent top at Sylacauga's Noble Park. 

SYLACAUGA -- Sometime last Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, someone bent the tops of some picnic tables in Sylacauga’s Noble Park, doing serious damage. 

It’s not a new problem, and Parks and Recreation Director Jim Armstrong said he is sick of it.

“Vandalism has been a constant problem,” he said, “and I don’t know why they do it. We put things out in our public parks for people to enjoy. I don’t understand why someone would want to paint their name all over everything. 

“Every time our parks get audited, they say we need to do something about the vandalism, but we have a small staff and we can’t monitor all our properties constantly. It’s bad enough we had to put bars up around the pavilions a few years ago.”

Armstrong explained someone, possibly drug addicts, had started coming into Noble Park a few years ago, sawing pieces off of the aluminum picnic tables and then selling the pieces for scrap.

In addition to destroying the tables, “We would find where they had left drug paraphernalia and used condoms lying all around. It hasn’t been as bad since we put the bars up, but come on, that’s ridiculous. We’re doing all we can, but we need people to report it when they see things going on that shouldn’t be.”

Vandalism is a major problem at Noble Park and the other city parks as well, but littering is also an issue, Armstrong added. 

“And I don’t know why that is, either,” he said. “We’ve got trash cans everywhere. People will pull into the park to eat lunch and throw their wrappers on the ground, even if they’re right next to a trash can. Or people will come here to clean out their cars and will throw things on the ground with a trash can less than 4 feet away. You could walk that far to put something in the trash.”

Throwing trash around and damaging park property serves no purpose. Armstrong said. 

“The parks are there for everyone to enjoy and to be safe,” he said. “And we want to always be able to make our parks better, but instead we have to just replace things that have been damaged or painted all over.”

If you see anything going on in a city park that shouldn’t be, please contact the Sylacauga Police Department at 256-245-4334.