Vandalism Forces Park to Close Early

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DURYEA -- A rash of vandalism at a park in Luzerne County has led officials to close it early for the next few days. Duryea Police say the vandalism has been happening at the Borough Community Park for a while.

From the outside, the Duryea Borough Community Park is in good shape. There are a few skid marks and scratches, but it's an otherwise fun place for kids to play.

But neighbors including Nicholas Bolock would say some teens who stop by the park prove otherwise.

"Sometimes harass people. They stand in the middle of the road, stop up traffic. Even at night they try to play manhunt and trespass in people's yards," said Nicholas Bolock, of Duryea.

Reports of vandalism forced borough officials to close the park at 4 p.m. through Thursday this week, instead of its normal 9 p.m. closing.

"The council decided that they have to do something to teach the kids that they can't be doing vandalism," said Duryea Mayor Keith Moss.

Mayor Keith Moss says that over time, the door to the electrical box has been removed. These lights have been broken. One even sparked a small mulch fire. The vending machines have been smashed, and benches were taken apart.

Hop off the slide here and you'll see that right behind the park is the police station, but the police say just because they're near the park doesn't mean they can always catch the people vandalizing it.

Police say it's hard to staff an officer at the park when crime is happening in other parts of the borough. But people who use or live near the park hope that locking the fence early for a few days will send a message to the vandals.

"Smashing a vending machine is one thing, but the electrical box. You could get hurt," said Bolock.

"It's a shame that kids would do that if it's such a nice park and they like coming here and hanging out, so hopefully they could respect it and not do the damage to it," said James Woodall.

Duryea Police did cite people for smashing the vending machines. But police want the community's help to catch the other people damaging the park. If the vandalism continues, the Duryea mayor says they'll continue to close the park early.