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Vandals do $80K in damage at new Colorado Springs park - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Vandals do $80K in damage at new Colorado Springs park

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An example of graffiti at John Venezia Park in Briargate An example of graffiti at John Venezia Park in Briargate
COLORADO SPRINGS -

John Venezia Park in Briargate is the first new park to open in the City of Colorado Springs in more than a decade and already vandals have caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.  In fact, the parks and recreation department is asking City Council for an additional $450,000 to buy surveillance cameras to try and catch the criminals in the act.

Photos of some the graffiti specifically show red and yellow spray paint with anarchy logos and the words "antifa" and "left solida" on tables, walls and fireplaces. That graffiti has since been removed, but it cost the community at least $80,000 to repair or replace damaged items.

That figure was a surprise to parents who spent Friday afternoon playing at the park with their children. 

"That's actually very surprising," Josh Inskeep said. "I'll be honest with you, I didn't know that and I can't believe it."

"I'm surprised that there would be any at all, especially given the area," added Erik Konig. "I'm surprised they would be any vandalizing or causing destruction at all."

A grand opening celebration was held at the park on July 8 and it has quickly become one of the most popular spots in City.

"I love it, I think it's great for the kids," Inskeep said.

"It's nice, I mean it's beautiful obviously," said Konig.

Kurt Schroeder, the park maintenance and operations manager, said vandalism occurs at all city parks. But for some reason, Venezia has been hit especially hard. The damage started even before the park opened.

"Even through construction, somebody or some people were getting in there and tagging the site," Schroeder said. "We had copper stolen, we had the contractors equipment vandalized."

The cameras they have in mind are similar to the system currently in place downtown which provide a live feed direct to the police department.

"That signal will be sent into the police operations center can be monitored so that any kind of mischief that occurs can be picked up just as quickly as possible and hopefully eliminated."

In the meantime, Schroeder said they have requested officers to come by and keep an eye on things whenever possible. Schroeder hopes the presence of squad cars will keep even more valuable park installations from being damaged.

"It's got so many really cool amenities that if they are damaged, it's not going to be inexpensive to repair or replace."

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