Don’t let vandalism spoil our enjoyment using city parks

The city of Marshall has many quality of life assets that makes it a great place to live. Among those assets are more than a dozen city parks. In some respects, those parks are likely Marshall’s crown jewels.

When making that argument we think about Legion Park’s tall, shady trees along the Redwood River that winds along the park’s border. The majestic baseball field, tennis courts and the pool — even though it will soon be replaced.

We also think about Independence park’s pond. The park also has plenty of room for any recreational and festive activity. And of course there are the youth baseball diamonds and Carter’s Court.

Memorial Park is a great place to reflect on life next to the 9/11 Memorial. Liberty Park offers a place for music and outdoor beauty.

The list goes on and on. There are plenty of park options for Marshall residents to enjoy.

However, this enjoyment is dulled when park users see graffiti on buildings and bathrooms damaged.

City officials and law enforcement recently rang alarm bells over the amount of vandalism being reported at the city parks.

From January through March of this year, the Marshall Police Department says it has responded to a total of 14 calls about vandalism. In 2022, the next year with data posted on the Marshall city website, Marshall police responded to a total of 51 vandalism calls and responded to 35 calls in 2020.

According to Marshall Parks and Recreation Superintendent Preston Stensrud, tagging or spray painting has become more frequent.

While vandalism is a common occurrence in many large and small cities across the nation, it’s disturbing to see it becoming so prevalent in Marshall.

“It has such a negative impact on our community in general,” Public Safety Director Jim Marshall was quoted in an Independent article.

City officials estimate vandalism has cost the city thousands of dollars and taking up lots of city staff time.

Stensrud estimated that vandalism repairs cost the city $20,000 to $25,000 last year. In one of his examples, replacing damaged bathroom stalls cost $4,300.

What is the city doing to combat the vandalism?

Thanks to the Marshall Crime Prevention Fund, more security cameras were installed at parks. Marshall said the cameras have made a difference in catching and identifying people.

Marshall also urges residents to report damage to the city parks department.

We applaud city officials and law enforcement for battling this plague on our recreational resources and alerting the public on this ongoing issue.

While we urge residents not to confront violators, it’s important they report suspicious activity. We also urge parents to remind youths to respect the parks. Also, make sure your youths follow the curfew ordinance. Unsupervised minors under the age 16 are not allowed to loiter on the streets or in public places between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The bottom line, we need to do what we can to protect the city’s crown jewels.

To report vandalism or curfew ordinance violations, contact the Marshall Police Department’s non-emergency line at 507-537-7000.

With summer just around the corner, we don’t need vandalism to spoil our enjoyment at city parks.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today