Rec. teams with schools to combat field vandalism

Police are still looking for the person or people who damaged the JFK playing fields (CPD photo)

Police are still looking for the person or people who damaged the JFK playing fields (CPD photo)

The Recreation Department is hoping that a quick response to seeding after a major vehicle vandalism incident in November will help to contain damage to several athletic fields at the Kennedy School. The full extent of the damage, however, will not be known until the fields thaw out in the spring.

In response to the JFK incident and an earlier incident at Walsh Field at Canton High School, Recreation Director Janet Maguire has reached out to the School Department to explore ways to combat field vandalism and is open to new security measures such as cameras and vehicle barricades. The Recreation Department has also been in discussions with school officials on field upkeep and maintenance responsibilities.

Following the November 7 incident at the JFK fields, the Police Department put out a public appeal for assistance in finding the individuals responsible for the damage; however, police received no new information and the case remains unsolved. CPD Detective John Ruane said he even “put out feelers to some of the youth in town to see if someone would come forward with information but ended up empty handed.”

Authorities believe that both the JFK and Walsh incidents were deliberate acts of vandalism. In the Walsh incident, which occurred in September, the vehicle drove over an embankment and damaged the new sod, which had been laid just a few days prior. Maguire said the repair costs were in the vicinity of several hundred dollars — mostly for time and labor as Recreation maintenance workers used leftover materials to install a new layer of sod.

The damage at the Kennedy School, meanwhile, was more extensive and encompassed a wider area, most notably the infield and outfield at Ruane Field. Maguire said Recreation workers were able to repair some of the grass, although the full impact will not be known until early spring.

Both of the damaged fields are on school property, and Maguire believes that any security steps should be made by both departments working in concert with one another. Regarding the possible addition of barricades, Maguire said they would not impact emergency access as each of the fields has locked gates that are open to both Police and Fire through a security system.

Maguire said she believes Walsh field will be fine for the spring season. The condition of Ruane Field, she said, remains to be seen, although she is cautiously optimistic that it will bounce back to normal. “I don’t think Ruane Field will be an unplayable situation,” she said. “It may be less than ideal though.”

Moreover, Maguire said the vandalism incidents are very frustrating for the Recreation Department’s maintenance staff, who she said “take pride in taking care of the fields.”

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avatar Posted by on Jan 8 2015. Filed under News, Schools, Town Government. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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