More… Vandalism at the Park

—- Summary from Mary McLaughlin on 5/30 —–

Well, for my own sense of things I summarized the discussion on the beach fire pit and sign (roads in another email!). It is attached. The first few emails I pretty much just put the yes/no/other, and then I started putting in some comments, so if you replied first, your comments might not be all in there. Please note, this was just to get my own head around the discussion, so if you don’t think it’s all there, please feel free to make a summary.

But there was pretty clear consensus from what I read. The general consensus — and I use “consensus,” not vote since this isn’t a vote — from the emails as well as one reply at the website seems to be to:

*Not get rid of the fire pit;
*Get police involved whenever there is disruption down there;
*Post the rules so that kids see them, and we have some visual authority we can point to for kids and cops;
*Don’t say that the park “closes”. (Please note that if we decide otherwise on this, we can always print a couple new signs; they weren’t that expensive.)
*See if all of this helps, and then re-evaluate!

So, yesterday, thanks to Cheryl and Don Houston, Chris Brehm (and me!) we put in the swim line and swim platform. And Gary Phillips hung the new signs. And the Grobs fixed and painted all the picnic tables! (By the way, Cheryl and Don painted the metal legs for another one, but someone took the legs from the beach. Perhaps someone thought they were
garbage since the tops weren’t on, so if anyone sees them out on garbage day, please rescue them and we’ll put the tops and seats on for one more down there.)

Happy Holiday weekend!


—–Original Message—–
From: Mary Eileen McLaughlin
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 5:52 AM
To: Neighborhood
Subject: Beach – bad news

There was more vandalism at the beach on Monday evening. People burned the top boards for picnic tables that were in the process of being repaired and painted by Tyler Grob and his Dad, Dave. Tyler and Dave had worked hard, had things set up to finish so we would be ready for this weekend, and were coming back Tuesday with their re-charged screw
driver. They found the burned boards.

Evidentially there were some witnesses of some young men down there Monday evening, and the police are investigating.


——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: Beach – bad news
Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 09:02:31 -0400

For what it’s worth, I arrived home from work at about 9:30 on Monday evening and there was a large fire in the park with 5 or 6 vehicles parked outside the park. When we went down to check our boat on Tuesday we found that someone had pulled our pull out bed/couch completely out of the bench frame and they left it in a jumbled mess, laid out on the floor in the boat. Nothing else seemed to have been damaged, but it sure is frustrating to know they are boarding the boats and going through the contents. There was also a fire and small crowd (3 – 4 cars) of young adults last night until after midnight.

There was talk after the vandalism last year of posting signs in the park at the entrance and near the fire pit, with usage hours. Possibly with a 10pm or 11pm curfew on weeknights. Has there been any more talk of that this year?


—–Excerpts from neighborhood email exchanges that followed——

I agree that removing the fire pit and posting park hours should be a huge step towards reducing the vandalism at the park.


I 100% agree with taking away the fire pit. This has been dealt with for as long as I can remember and enough is enough.
Mary, thank you for updating all of us on this situation.
Tricia Erskine

I realize that it is necessary to remove the fire pit, however, let us be aware that we are now considering removing an amenity of our beach park in order to control vandalism caused by a few.

I agree with Cheryl. I think we need to consider if there are other options.

Yep, that’s sad. I’m wondering if any of the parents of the kids who were down there on Monday are on this email list and might want to have a chat. I’m happy to keep it confidential if you have plans to control your kids and I can let people know you do. Or if someone knows if the kids weren’t even connected to kids in our neighborhood that would be good to know too.

I am not sure if eliminating the fire pit is the cure for the vandalism, even though I do think it might help. From our vantage point over looking the park, (I have lived here 4 years) by day, there is nothing we enjoy more than watching children and their parents walking down to the park with their fishing poles, or their swim rafts as they head to the beach. Watching the kids play on the slide, the swings or the volleyball court is always a joy too. All this while some of the boats from our neighborhood are put in or come out at our private community launch, the beach and launch we all pay for and take pride in. What a privilege for all of us to have, to share with our neighbors.

I am not sure if many of you know this, but as nightfall’s, the whole use of our park changes on many evenings and not just on the weekends. We see the kids and the families heading home and then we often see carloads of young adults come into our park. The routine is almost always the same, one or two cars show up, usually outside the chain if the chain is up. They carry their coolers, and their cases of beverages down to the picnic area and the fire gets started. Most of the time a car shows up with a gate key and then the cars gather near the fire pit picnic area and the music starts. This happened almost every single Thursday and Friday night last summer, not to mention the weekends and occasional Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night. I live here and I see it, I am not exaggerating. This happened last summer until I counted over 50 vehicles in the park and or parked in front of my house. That Thursday night I had, had enough and I called the police at 1:00am. The police came and tickets for minors in possession were handed out. The night the 50+ party, was the same night that several boats were vandalized including mine. After that evening things were quiet for several weeks and then it started up again slowly.

This spring the groups have been reasonable,(6-10) but they are there in our park after dark, many nights. As the weather has warmed, the numbers have started to increase and low in behold the vandalism has started to increase too.

I wonder, If he fire pit wasn’t there, would they still come? My guess is that they would, where else do they have to go, where they can drink in public? I really don’t mind the small evening gatherings and hearing music coming for the park on occasion. What really bothers me is when, they park out front of my house, urinate in my yard and then go on about their business. It also bothers me and should bother all of you, is when the small gathering gets bored and they start to destroy our park or trespass, or steal from our boats.

I don’t have a suggestion on how to minimize the evening usage or the vandalism, I just wanted to share what I have observed and what I have experienced personally.


My thoughts on removing ‘fire pit’– those that are burning picnic tables or whatever will not be stopped by the lack of a ‘fire pit’–they will burn anyway anyplace.

Not only should the fire pit be removed, we should consider putting a light down there.
We can always dig a fire pit if it is missed that much.
Scott and Denise


This is a good discussion.

I’m writing to suggest forming a Neighborhood Watch group. Perhaps the police can conduct and teach us when to speak to suspicious parties and when to call them, if we should gather information. I will call them to set up a meeting or make such a request, unless Mary you have a preferred person you are working with.

I also suggest people register their cars/licence plates with this Watch group.
My thought is when we see cars down there, jot down license numbers and find out who they belong too. If something happens we can contact neighbors saying something happened while your car was there, did you see anything? Then contacting the police when a crime takes place while an unregistered vehicle was present.

I am not sure removing the fire pit will stop fires. Is removing the picnic tables next? Then they’ll move onto the swing set or the fence. Or the woods.

I just spoke with the Hamburg Fire Dept. who suggested that working with the police, requesting patrols, and assuring a community presence may be helpful. He agreed that removing the fire pit probably won’t make a difference.

We are being bullied and I don’t like it. We need to be dilient and alert and hold those accountable.

Thank you,

I agree with the removal of the fire pit, also. I’m not sure whether posting hours would be beneficial as the culprits don’t seem to be interested in rules. In response to the gentleman whose boast was damaged, it is sad that there is no respect for the property of others. We sold our pontoon boat three years ago due to vandalism at the park. We don’t feel comfortable keeping a boat there anymore.