Town grapples with vandalism problem

JOHNSBURG Just as law enforcement arrested perpetrators in one act of vandalism at Johnsburg town recreation facilities, vandals struck again at the town beach, pushing town officials to look for creative ways to deter the petty crimes.

All told, theyve done about $1,200 worth of damage this summer, said Cherie Ferguson, town budget coordinator.

In the latest incident at the beach on July 24, vandals cut chains and ropes and broke boards, causing about $250 worth of damage. Continued vandalism has the potential to cripple the towns summer recreation program, Ferguson said.

The summers almost over and theyve cobbled things together to get through the rest of the season, Ferguson said. But its frustrating.

As a result of the vandalism, Warren County Sheriff deputies have stepped up patrols through the town park that borders Route 28 in North Creek, Ferguson said.

The most recent vandalism followed a spree in June when vandals destroyed property at the beach and broke lights and benches on a town hiking trail that had been installed as part of an Eagle Scout project.

In that act, police have arrested three individuals, one 16-year-old and two who are younger who are being dealt with through the Family Court system.

Ferguson said restitution to the town will likely be forthcoming as a result of those arrests.

At a recent meeting, the Ski Bowl Park Committee discussed ways to deter vandals at the beach and other town recreation facilities, said Committee Chairman Andrea McKee.

We talked about installing cameras in the eaves of the pavilion, McKee said. They would record activity at the beach during times when nobody is there. That might be worth a shot.

Another approach might be to apply for a state arts grant and paint murals at the beach.

Theyve found that those who paint graffiti dont tend to do painted surfaces, McKee said.

Finally, McKee said, the other potential solution is perhaps the most obvious.

We can talk to the kids, she said. Its a small town. Everybody knows everybody. The kids probably know whos doing this. We can just sit down with them and say, `if theres a problem here, lets talk about it.

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