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Smithsburg to try lighting to fight park vandalism

August 10, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

The Smithsburg Town Council decided Tuesday night to try dusk-to-dawn lighting at Veterans Park along Water Street after the mayor said police have had a "terrible time" with vandalism there.

Much of the vandalism has included spray painting of areas in the park and scrawling graffiti, Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said after a regular council meeting.

The graffiti has mostly been names, and the spray-painting damage included the concrete on a pavilion, Councilman Donnie Souders said.

Police Chief George Knight told the council that three individuals have been charged with malicious destruction of property in connection with the vandalism.

Vandalism has also been a problem at Lions Park on Bikle Road, Myers said.

Although Knight said the vandalism to Veterans Park has not been occurring at night, council members decided to use dusk-to-dawn lighting at the park for 30 days to see if it reduces the problem.

There is existing lighting at the park but overnight lighting has not been used for years, Myers said.

Knight said the lights in the park illuminate a very large area.

Councilman Jerome Martin said Wednesday that council members are "grabbing at straws" in trying to resolve the problem, but night lighting might help deter vandalism.

Smithsburg Public Works Director Jeff Long told council members that littering is also a problem in the park, where it can take 20 minutes to pick up the trash.

Town officials said at a council meeting in July that some individuals have been banned from Veterans Park after they were caught tampering with surveillance cameras there.

 Authorities were able to determine who was tampering with the cameras because the cameras caught images of them while they were doing it, Myers said.

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