Amherst Lions discouraged by vandalism at park

Several town parks targeted by vandals

Published on July 13, 2017

The Amherst Lions Club has been dealing with several incidents of vandalism at the new Lions Park on Hickman Street.

©Darrell Cole - Amherst News

AMHERST – The Amherst Lions Club is trying hard to bring its popular playground back to the West Highlands section of town, but vandals are making that job difficult.

The club is in the second year of a five-year commitment to redevelop the Lions Park on the former site of the West Highlands Elementary School.
“We’ve been having issues from the very beginning,” Lions park committee chairman Rubin Millard said. “It’s very frustrating because we’re trying to do something for the community and a few hooligans are making it difficult for us to do that.”
The project began last year when play equipment from the former park further up Hickman Street was moved into position in the northeast corner of the property.
So far this year, a walking track has been constructed around the property and a tennis court, with four basketball nets, has also been put in place.
The park will officially be dedicated on Saturday, July 29.
Millard said the biggest issues have been with rocks being thrown from the park at neighbouring buildings while larger rocks have been thrown over the fence into the tennis court.
He said there was damage to the Lions head in the park as well as to the Lions sign.
He said the club will be handing out pamphlets at the dedication ceremony urging people to keep an eye on the park and to call either police or the Lions if they see damage taking place.
The club, he said, has big plans for the park but those plans could be hindered by the amount of money it has to spent to repair the damage or replace items that have been vandalized.
Amherst’s recreation director Bill Schurman said there have been numerous incidents of vandalism at several town parks.
“It’s discouraging,” he said. “We believe the community doesn’t accept that type of behaviour and we’re hoping we can work with the community to deal with the situation.”
The biggest help the town could receive is for people to call police if they see something.
Among the damage has been to trees and shrubs as well as to community bathrooms at Dickey Park and other locations. Garbage cans have been knocked over, flowers pulled out of the ground and signs damaged.
He said he feels bad for the Lions, who have put so much money into the community over the years.
“I believe we as a community have to say we don't accept this and take a stand,” he said. “It’s not something we can shrug off as mischief because mischief costs money and we don’t have to accept that.”
Twitter: @ADNdarrell

We’ve been having issues from the very beginning. It’s very frustrating because we’re trying to do something for the community and a few hooligans are making it difficult for us to do that.

Rubin Millard, Amherst Lions Club