BLM graffiti at City Park

This contributed photo shows part of the Yakkity-Yak playground vandalized with the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ written in green paint. The City of Bluefield is working on installing cameras in areas of park.

BLUEFIELD — The City of Bluefield is working on installing cameras in areas of City Park because of vandalism.

On Saturday, Yakkity-Yak Playground equipment and bathrooms that were recently renovated were defaced.

In June, new picnic tables and a shelter in the park were also vandalized.

“We put a lot of work in the City Park and we have spent a lot of money and made a lot of effort for somebody to come in and deface property we provide for residents,” City Manager Dane Rideout said. “It is irresponsible and we are all very upset.”

Rideout said the city pays for all costs at the park and, although it is on Bluefield, Va. property, it is “frustrating” the area is not patrolled regularly by the Town of Bluefield Police Department.

“It’s not my jurisdiction,” he said.”It’s Bluefield, Va.’s jurisdiction.”

Adjustments have been made to make sure a city worker is there as much as possible, he added.

“We changed up our workforce to have somebody down there at the park seven days a week from the public works department,” he said, but they can’t be there 24 hours a day.

The defacing occurred between 8 p.m. last Friday night and 7 a.m. the following morning, he added.

Rideout said Mayor Ron Martin has asked if the city can pursue installing cameras in the area.

That is a possibility and that is being worked on, Rideout said, but wireless cameras will be needed and cover a large area, with a cost of about $50,000.

“We are going to step up security and go after trying to curb this behavior,” he said.

The previous vandalism happened early in the summer after the city had worked to get the park ready for warm weather.

“We did a lot of work to get up and running to open June 10,” Rideout told city board members at that time, but just as it was to reopen, the vandalism was found.

“We spent a lot of money to try to make it nice for public but this is what we are dealing with on a daily basis,” he said. “Folks go back in and destroy it again.”

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

Recommended for you