BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - From the parking lot, Houghton Park seems like any other; with plenty of families out enjoying the summer day. But as you get closer, it shows a much different story.
Councilman Rich Fontana and many residents are sick of seeing vandalism on a seemingly never ending basis.
Almost every weekend the councilman says his office receives a call about vandalism in the park. The latest was a fire that burned picnic tables and one of the new structures that haven't even been up for a year.
"I was just like, are you serious?" says Councilman Fontana. "The City of Buffalo invested a lot of money in the city parks. Then you get a couple of knuckle-heads that come around and they want to wreck everything. I can't believe I'm here talking to you about it being burnt; pretty much to a crisp."
"It's just nonsense. It needs to stop." Devon Davenport of Buffalo shares the sentiments of many who share Houghton Park in Buffalo's Kaisertown neighborhood.
Councilman Fontana says when the shelters were built, they were supposed to be a 30-year addition to the park.
A couple years ago another structure was set on fire at the park that caused nearly a half million dollars in damages. These were built to try and deter vandalism.
It was also decided wooden benches would be installed after people would break the plastic and rubber ones. As you look at the new benches, basically every square inch is covered in graffiti.
Fontana is calling on the Buffalo Police to increase their presence in the park. He's also hoping for cameras in the area to stop the vandalism. He and those that come here, would also like to see people take pride in their park.
"Maybe some volunteers, community action can come together and keep the park safe and clean," suggests Tamieka Carter of Buffalo.
"I just want to see the kids to learn how to take care of what's theirs in their community. This is for them, said Davenport.
"The best thing about a park is, no matter how much money you have or where you live, you still own a piece of that park," said Councilman Fontana. "All residents own the park no matter where you live. So why would you come over to your own park and set things on fire and cause several thousands of dollars in damages to a structure we just built?"
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