South Long Lake park grills vandalized
The county is now considering installing cameras and signage at the park to deter property damage.
A week after the Crow Wing County Board approved a plan to build a new picnic shelter at the county park on Lower South Long Lake, someone damaged two of the three grills located there.
One grill was torn from the ground while the other grill was tossed into the Nokasippi River in an incident suspected to have occurred the night of Sept. 10. Land Services Director Gary Griffin said while the grills were scheduled to be removed soon to make way for the estimated $75,000 picnic shelter, the recent damage doesn’t instill confidence in how the new equipment will be treated. He said the county is now considering installing cameras and signage at the park to deter property damage.
“At the last board meeting, we did get approved to put up a new pavilion with new grills anyway,” Griffin said. “But it doesn’t make it good, if they go back there and start damaging the new stuff.”
It wouldn’t be the first time relatively new amenities at county parks sustained vandalism. Last summer, two separate occurrences of vandalism at Milford Mine Memorial Park left graffiti in a number of places, dozens of damaged and removed interpretive signs, broken benches and destroyed cable tensioners along a lengthy boardwalk featuring the names of those who lost their lives. County staff members spent several days after those incidents reinstalling signs, painting over graffiti and fixing up the damage.
Griffin said a newly placed bathroom facility at the Paul M. Thiede Fire Tower Park — dedicated earlier this summer — was also damaged when someone appeared to try to kick out screens inside the building. Both Milford and the fire tower park now have solar-powered gates on timers to prevent vehicle entry after dark.
“It does seem like if people are going to do the bad, bad stuff, it seems like that’s when it happens,” Griffin said.
Improvements to the South Long Lake park are tentatively planned to begin this fall, but Griffin noted it’s dependent on the availability of construction materials, given the shortage in lumber the industry is experiencing.
CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .