When Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison was a teacher and school officials were trying to find out who was responsible for something bad that happened at school, he used to tell his students, “I know somebody saw them. I know somebody saw something.”
Then he told his students that he just wanted the information and wouldn’t reveal who told him. It usually worked, and he never revealed who gave him the information.
Now Harrison is implementing a similar strategy in an effort to find out who is behind the recent vandalism at Bill Woods Park, and continuing vandalism at parks throughout town.
“I just don’t believe anything goes unseen so somebody knows who it is,” Harrison said. “I am asking everyone out there to be an extra set of eyes. When you see something all you have to do is call us. We won’t tell a name. We won’t tell who told us.”
Williamsburg police are also stepping up patrols at local parks after vandals recently damaged the water fountain at Bill Woods Park and partially burned a tree there.
“Since they put the water fountain in we are constantly having problems with people stopping the water fountain up or putting suds in the water fountain. I think this time they damaged the electrical system to the water fountain,” said Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird.
Harrison said that city officials don’t have an estimate yet on how much it is going to cost to repair the damage to the fountain.
“It is going to cost us something, which makes you mad that anyone would even do anything like this,” Harrison noted.
Bird said that he doesn’t know if vandals were trying to burn a tree in the park down but that is what they appeared to have done.
“There are big black burn marks going up the tree,” he said.
Harrison said he is at a loss for words about why anyone would fathom setting the tree on fire.
Bird explained that police are having problems with the parks in general.
“At Briar Creek Park they put in new playground equipment quite some time ago. You can go down there and look at it. They have written graffiti all over it,” Bird said. “They are just abusing the parks.”
There are signs posted at Briar Creek Park indicating that the park closes at 10:30 p.m. and police are now enforcing that rule.
“If you are in the park after 10:30 at night, expect to be asked to leave by the police,” Bird said. “The problem we are having is people going down late at night, going back in the picnic areas and doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. If we catch someone doing criminal mischief, we are absolutely going to charge them. If we find out who did the damage to the fountain at Bill Woods Park then they are looking at criminal mischief charges. Depending on what the amount of the damage is will depend on whether that is a felony charge or not.”
Harrison said city officials are also looking into installing security cameras at the parks.
He said officials learned recently that some neighbors adjacent to Bill Woods Park have cameras that partially cover the park, which has shed some light on who might be involved.
Harrison said he has an idea, who may be responsible for at least part of the vandalism and thinks it may be unsupervised young people.
Harrison added that he has been meeting with Kentucky Utilities for about one year in an effort to get better lighting at Briar Creek Park, especially the walking trail there.
In addition to improving security there, Harrison noted that the lighting would help a lot of people, who like to walk there late in the evenings during summer time, when it is cooler.
“I am going to light that baby up. I am hoping that will do it but we are looking at the possibility of security cameras too for that,” he said.
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Williamsburg police at 549-6038 or Williamsburg City Hall at 549-6033.
“The biggest problem with vandalism is you hear everybody talk about how they would like to have nice things around. You try to put something out nice, but then you have a handful of people that try to tear it down. That is what makes you the maddest,” Harrison added.