Police catch Bicentennial Park vandals

Bicentennial Park in the city of Dunkirk has a history of unanswered vandalism. However, Dunkirk Police announced finding those responsible for the most recent incident in the small park on Sixth Street.

On Aug. 10, police received a report of damage to a cement table in the park across from Dunkirk High School. Members of the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association made the report and notified the school. Association member Harriet “Skeeter” Tower visits the park daily to water the plants.

According to Tower, the damage was accompanied by litter with a name on some papers.

“We had four men volunteer to move this seemingly indestructible garden furniture to the cement pad in the park. Less than a week later the base of the table is smashed and the table upended. Litter everywhere, some of it including a student name and school work,” she said in an email.

Earlier this month, the cement benches and table were donated by Roosevelt Avenue resident Cynthia Smith after the Garden Delights 2014 Dunkirk Garden Walk. Tower said when Smith saw only a rocking chair in the space, she donated the cement set from her own garden. After vandals did their damage, the pedestal of the table was cracked and the tabletop was removed from the base.

Police reported an investigation led to two 15-year-old juveniles, who were found responsible for the criminal mischief.

No charges were issued for the youths, but it was noted that the school district will pay for the damages and be responsible for reprimanding the individuals.

Tower said she is pleased the police were able to follow clues to find those responsible, and hopes those individuals learn from the experience.

This is the third time in the span of a year that a piece of garden furniture has been damaged by vandals.

Last August, one of a pair of wooden glider benches, donated by Dunkirk resident Kathy Collins in memory of her mother, Cecelia Cooley, was destroyed. The bench was apparently thrown in Crooked Brook, leaving only several wooden slats behind.

Later, in October, the second bench was damaged and removed to prevent further vandalism.