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May 28, 2008
Update Supervisor Adds $2,500 to Fort Natomas Fire Reward
Sacramento County District 1 Supervisor Roger Dickinson announced Wednesday that he is contributing $2,500 to the reward fund for the arrest and conviction of the people responsible for the early Monday morning Fort Natomas playground fire.

Sacramento Fire Department arson investigators have determined that the playground fire was arson, said a department news release issued Wednesday.

The playground was a total loss following a suspicious blaze that began about 1 a.m. Monday. Arsonists destroyed the same South Natomas playground in June 2006.

After that blaze, hundreds of volunteers rebuilt Fort Natomas in a seven-day construction campaign.

On Monday, Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo and City Councilman Ray Tretheway offered a $5,000 reward.

A community meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the park picnic shelter, near Cloudview Drive and Roma Court, to find out what people want to do.

A Web site has been set up for persons who are willing to assist in the possible Fort Natomas rebuilding effort.

Anyone with information about the playground fire is asked to call the Sacramento Fire Department's arson tip line at (916) 808-8732.

Here's Bill Lindelof's story about the latest fire. Following is Pamela Martineau's story about the rebuilding of the playground in November 2006:







Soaring Eagles Playground Burned


THE UGLY TRUTH

By ANTHONY LANE THE GAZETTE
April 6, 2007 - 1:25AM

A slide sagged in ugly strands at a vandalized playground in eastern Colorado Springs on Thursday while the aroma of melted plastic hung in the air.

Reed Hedglin, who used a nearby swingset during a visit to Soaring Eagles Park on Thursday, expressed disgust over the destruction with a single word.

“Teenagers!” the 5-year-old exclaimed.

Authorities do not know who started a fire early Wednesday morning that laid waste to half the playground at a park just west of the Colorado Springs Airport, causing between $5,000 and $10,000 in damage.

But they do say it is only one prominent example of a vandalism problem at city parks that costs taxpayers thousands each year while robbing residents of facilities they could enjoy.

“You’d be amazed at what we see out there,” said Kurt Schroeder, the city’s maintenance, trails and open space manager.

Wednesday’s fire is not the first to consume a playground, Schroeder said. A 2003 blaze caused about $35,000 in damage at Meadowridge Park in northern Colorado Springs.

But playgrounds are not the only things lost to fires.

Three rented portable toilets burned last year, Schroeder said, and others were smashed, tipped or simply defaced.

Permanent bathrooms are not immune to the same impulses.

Two weeks ago, Schroeder said, someone smashed three toilets, one urinal and two sinks at Bonforte Park’s bathroom.

The cost of all the destruction is difficult to pin down. The city parks department budgets about $40,000 each year for repairs from major acts of vandalism, but Schroeder estimates the actual cost is closer to $60,000.

That does not include the cost of paint used to cover graffiti, employee time required to repair tennis nets, or the cost of new sprinkler heads.

More than 100 sprinkler heads, costing $35 each, fall victim each year to vandals’ feet.

The cost of repairs and replacements limits the money available for park improvements, Schroeder said.

The threat of vandalism also forces the city to spend more on parks in the first place, installing pricey, prisonissue steel toilets and sinks in places where cheaper porcelain versions would usually work fine.

Concern about vandalism at the Deerfield Hills Community Center Sprayground, a water park expected to open in June, is part of the motivation for a new city park-watch program.

Children at three elementary schools will be introduced this spring to “Seemore the Eagle” in a program intended to help kids develop a sense of ownership for the public spaces they use.

Tara Ferguson visited Soaring Eagles Park on Thursday with her boyfriend’s two children and said she wondered why the vandals hadn’t been taught that lesson at home.

“What’s going on with their parents that they’re not teaching that that’s not OK?” Ferguson said.

CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4813 or anthony.lane@gazette.com


First Name : Cynthia
Last Name : Fitzgerald
Address Street 1 : P O Box 342
Address Street 2 :
City : East Barre
Zip Code : 05649
State : VT
Daytime Phone : 802-249-5655
Evening Phone :
Email : cynthiafitzgeraldvt@gmail.com
Comments : I am the chair of the Barre Town, Vermont - Recreation Board and I am looking at this as a fundraising possibility.
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