Vandals force Crown Road Estates to shut down playgrounds - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Vandals force Crown Road Estates to shut down playgrounds

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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Silence has replaced the sounds of children laughing, playing on swings and gliding down slides on three playgrounds in the Crown Road Estates in east Harrison County.

Parents and children are upset because the playgrounds have been closed for about a year. 

However after taking a closer look you'll notice the plastic fencing surrounding the parks has been vandalized. Sections have been kicked out, other sections are missing.

Crown Road Estates property manager Robert Lang said regulations require a proper fence around the playgrounds for safety.

He also said the vandalism is a recurring problem.

"We've already spent over $8,000 fixing them before that lasted about a month they came in and started kicking fences out again," he added. "They are shutdown for everybody's safety."

Lang said he decided to shutdown the playgrounds, until new metal fencing can be constructed.

It's a decision that has Candace Price upset.

Price said, "There's tons of kids. They have nowhere to play. They play in the streets as a result. So as you can see this one is blocked and there's another one that has caution signs around the actual equipment. And they built a new gate and put a bolt lock on it. So the kids have nothing to do and its not fair."

Price said she hasn't seen any vandalism. 

"I don't think the kids did that and this is very poorly built. So it's not like it durable," Price said.

Belinda Barton says her three children and their friends need safe places to play. 

She said, "The children don't have anything to do out here. If you go to my front yard I have no grass because I have a basketball goal and my yard is always filled with children. The children need something to do."

New fencing is already up at two of the playgrounds. Eventually all three will have six foot metal fences instead of the plastic fencing.

Lang said that the new fence is going to be made of iron. 

He added, "If you go look around the other parks, six foot fence so they can't be climbing over and destroying the parks."

Crown Road Estates is government subsidized, income based housing, so the repairs eventually fall on the taxpayers.

"We're in the process of spending almost $50,000 for new fencing for all three of the parks and once they're done and the cement is cured we'll have set hours for the parks to be opened back up," Lang said. 

Belinda Barton says she's willing to organize parents to help monitor the parks.

Barton said, "When the vandalism occurred, I'm not absolutely sure about that. But surely there are enough parents who have agreed we will monitor these parks to make sure that nothing happens."

Along with the new fences, cameras have been installed around the playgrounds.

And Lang said anyone is caught breaking equipment or fencing, can expect a visit from a Harrison County Sheriff's deputy.

He hopes to have the playgrounds by the end of January open from 8:00 a.m. until nightfall.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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