City To Address Park Vandalism

Yankton officials are looking at solutions after two parks were once again targeted by vandals.

During Monday’s City Commission meeting, City Manager Amy Leon discussed another round of vandalism affecting public restrooms in both Riverside Park and Fantle Memorial Park.

“Some of that may be due to a challenge that’s on social media,” she said. “Some of that might be just a lack of respect for public spaces. We’ve also had some vandalism to some of our park equipment.”

Saturday morning, the Yankton Police Department shared a social media post that both parks had been hit by vandals.

“A friendly reminder to the community of Yankton that having these public bathrooms is a privilege,” the post read on Facebook. “Please treat these bathrooms with respect, and if you see any misconduct, please contact the YPD immediately at 605-668-5210 or Crime Stoppers at 605-665-4440.”

This comes on the heels of another incident that occurred in Riverside Park in late September.

The Press & Dakotan reported Sept. 23 that a Yankton Parks & Recreation Department post detailed damages allegedly inspired by an online challenge.

“There’s a new challenge on TikTok that encourages young kids to vandalize restrooms by totally destroying them,” the post said. “It’s a horrible trend that is ruining bathrooms all over the nation. Unfortunately, this happened in one of the men’s restrooms in Riverside Park (Wednesday) night.”

On Monday, Leon said that city officials are looking at what can be done to prevent further instances.

“We’ll be talking as a staff (Tuesday) since we weren’t all together last week,” she said. “Todd Larson is making some efforts right now to minimize, the best we can, vandalism in the parks. We’ll be fixing some equipment and, of course, fixing our restrooms, but we’re going to talk a little about that in our staff meeting.”

She said it’s shameful to see public property repeatedly destroyed in such a way.

“It’s sad,” she said. “You all know how expensive those things are and how we do try to keep them nice. For them to be defaced and vandalized is a sad thing.”

She added that it’s not a trend that’s exclusive to Yankton.

“That’s a sad trend that’s happened in a lot of communities,” she said.

Commissioner Nathan Johnson asked if an estimate was available on how much damage had been done, but Larson said there is not a calculated estimate available at this time.

Anyone with information on the vandalism is encouraged to call the Yankton Police Department or Crime Stoppers at the numbers listed above. The YPD post mentions that a reward of up to $1,000 may be given for credible information.

In other business Monday, the commission:

• Set the second meeting date in December for Thursday, Dec. 23, at noon;

• Announced possible quorum events for Oct. 20-22 related to strategic planning. No official commission action will take place during this time;

• Approved a shared water service line;

• Approved a Marne Creek property donation.

Follow @RobNielsenPandD on Twitter.

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