Vandals Leave Costly Hole In Stockton By Targeting Parks, Playgrounds

STOCKTON (CBS13) — Vandals have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to Stockton city parks over the last year. Now, city officials are looking at ways to secure funding for replacement playground equipment.

“That’s how the kids play. You’re taking from children,” said Tanisha Collins.

Fencing surrounds the burned and melted portions of Weber Point playground.

Vandals set fire to the equipment in April. Tanisha Collins’ children and others now have limited space.

“What are we going to have for our kids. That’s messed up. I’m hurt by that,” said Collins.

“In order to return it to its normal condition we have to replace the whole thing,” explained Connie Cochran with the city of Stockton.

Sh says she’s troubled by the vandalism.

“This actually harms children,” said Cochran, “it’s sad, and it’s unnecessary. it’s just destructive for no reason.”

Shropshire Park playground burned last year. It was recently replaced at a cost of $45,000.

In March, and only a mile from Weber Point, Constitution Park was destroyed by fire as well.

“It’s been bad because the kids don’t have nowhere to play,” said Eva Martinez. She frequently takes her grandkids to the park.

Fencing has surrounded the charred wood and melted plastic for months.

The burned out parks aren’t just an eyesore and an inconvenience, they are also becoming a danger. Kids getting through a hole in the fence.

The fix isn’t easy. Cochran says both playgrounds would have to be replaced. A total cost of more than $200,000.

“When something like this happens we don’t have the money readily available to replace something that significant,” explained Cochran.

Cochran says they’ve filed an insurance claim to see if the city can be reimbursed.

“If not well need to seek grant funding or hopefully the generosity of somebody who can help us out and get this equipment restored,” said Cochran.

Until then, parents are left with fewer playground options.

“Our children shouldn’t have to play in dirt,” said Collins.

Police say they don’t have any leads on any of the three fires. There no timeline for when the structures will either be demolished or replaced.

More from Drew Bollea
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