In the community

Array of vandal attacks damage renovated Beck-Kiwanis Park bathrooms

ONTARIO – On a cold spring day in early April, Ontario city leaders and residents gathered outside of the bathrooms at Beck-Kiwanis Park for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Ontario Mayor Debi Folden gripped a pair of large scissors to cut the red ribbon as people stood in front of the freshly-painted bathrooms, restored at a cost of $144,000.

But the gleam of new mirrors, toilets and other fixtures has been destroyed in a string of vandal attacks.

 During the first 20 days the bathrooms were open for the first time in three years, they’ve been vandalized four times. The night of Sunday, April 30, vandals struck again, this time ripping hand driers off the wall and smashing a mirror.

City officials convene for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the renovated bathrooms at Beck-Kiwanis Park in early April. Since the bathrooms reopened vandals struck the facility four times. The latest attack occurred Sunday, April 30. (Submitted photo)

“The exterior was vandalized even before we opened,” said Dan Cummings, Ontario city manager.

On Monday, May 1, Cummings was frustrated and unsure what the next step will be for the city. He was also unsure what repairs will cost.

“They are closed now until we can get an electrician down there to fix the hand driers,” he said.

Cummings said the city saved for three years – allocating some of its tax revenue from marijuana sales – to complete the project. The renovation project began last summer and was finished in the fall.

Cummings said he hopes the community will get involved to stop the vandalism.

“We need citizens to keep an eye out,” he said.

Cummings said the city installed cameras around the bathrooms in an effort to deter vandalism.

“The cameras don’t work long enough to catch someone because they cut the wires,” said Cummings.

If the vandalism continues, said Cummings, the city will have few options.

“We don’t have the money to constantly fix them. If it keeps up we’ll just have to lock them up again. This is why the bathrooms were closed for so long because as soon as we fix them they tear them up,” said Cummings.

Cummings said he is considering posting a reward for information to identify the vandals.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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