Houston cracks down on park vandals


HOUSTON – Vandals have once again broken toilets at bathrooms at Joe Brigance Park prompting the city to put locks on the door until they can be fixed.

Vandalism is a problem in all small towns, but the Houston Board of Aldermen are concerned with the amount of damage being done at the park and have asked Houston Town Marshal Billy Voyles to step up patrols at the park and to write tickets for those caught breaking the law.

“They have broken the commodes at both the bathroom at Kids Park and the one by the Civic Center,” said John Gravat, Houston Parks and Recreation Director, at last week’s city aldermen meeting. “We are also replacing boards and fixing things they tear up at Kids Park on a weekly basis.”

The city has put up a new yellow gate and has started locking the gate at sundown.

Gravat said a sign was put up three weeks ago saying Kids Park was for children under 12-year-old and urging the community to keep the playground clean.

“They tore the sign down,” said Gravat. “This is not little kids doing this, it’s teenagers.

“A lot of people put a lot of hard work and money into Kids Park and we do our best to keep it nice,” said Gravat. “We need the community to take ownership in this and tell us when they see someone tearing it up.”

Ricko Nichols, Street Department director, said light were put up this summer and helped cut down on vandalism. Nichols also said he thinks closing the Kids Park gate at sundown will help reduce vandalism.

Joe Brigance Park is often used at night by walkers and runners seeking exercise and the city urged the community to park on the north end of the park.

Voyles said his officers stepped up patrols at the park this summer. He pointed out camera’s have been installed and they stop and make teenagers get out of the park on a regular basis.

“We can’t stay down there all the time,” said Voyles. “We did bust a carload of boys from Calhoun County down there last week. We searched their car and found a little marijuana and they are being charged in juvenile court.”

Voyles also asked the community to call 911 if they see vandalism or have concerns about any activity at Joe Brigance Park.