NAUGATUCK — A popular target for vandalism has been hit once again.
About 15 of the wooden slats on the gazebo on the Town Green were kicked out last month and a few bushes around the gazebo were damaged.
Naugatuck Garden Club President Renie Steinway said she discovered the damage on Sept. 12.
“It looked like a hurricane went through,” Steinway said. “I was speechless. This is the worst one yet that I’ve seen.”
Although it was the worst, it was certainly not the first time vandals have done this to the gazebo.
“It seems to be a weekly thing. They vandalize it as fast as we can fix it,” Public Works Superintendent Robert Roland said.
Roland said if there are only three or four of the slats kicked out the department will refurbish the gazebo and replace the missing pieces.
However, the damage done this time could be upwards of $300 to fix, Roland said. The department might consider reinforcing the slats when fixing them this time, he said.
Steinway said the damage was disheartening for the club, which gave the gazebo to the town as a gift in 2000, and came at a bad time in general.
“It happened to coincide with the time we were going to vote on how much money we were going to put towards fixing it up,” Steinway said.
Steinway said the group has postponed that vote in light of the damage. She wasn’t sure if the group would put forward as much money toward it now.
“What’s the point of fixing it if it’s going to keep being damaged,” Steinway asked.
Roland said the gazebo hasn’t been the only recent target of vandalism. Parks, playgrounds and even other parts of the Green have either been vandalized or graffitied, he said.
“I guess times have changed,” Roland said.
Roland expressed concerns about the vandalism as a project is underway to refurbish the fountain on the Green.
“I’m concerned about the long-term affects on the fountain and the granite. Skate boarders like to ride the edge of the corner on the granite, which at one time was pink, and turn it black,” Roland said.
Roland said he is not trying to single out or blame all skateboarders for the damage done, but is concerned with the amount of damage the skateboarders have done so far.
Roland is also upset by how much damage is being done to the Green, a place he thinks should be revered.
“It should be a nice place to sit down and relax and look at the town buildings. We shouldn’t have to go repairing vandalism once a week there,” Roland said.
Steinway echoed Roland’s concerns about the amount of vandalism taking place in the borough. She said the club plants flowers in flower boxes along the General Pulaski Bridge and people rip them out and throw them in the river.
The club also had trouble after they planted new shrubs in the borough this year, Steinway said.
“We planted new shrubs. They didn’t even last a week. We don’t know what to do about it,” Steinway said.
Steinway wants to know why people would do this kind of damage.
“Why? We’re trying to make your town look nice. We put in time and effort. It’s just a shame when things get damaged,” Steinway said.
Roland said the Department of Public Works has looked into surveillance cameras for the Green, but they are prohibitively expensive. He has also asked the police to increase patrols through the area, which he said they have done. However, he said that neither he nor the police officers can be down there at all times.
“It’s a tough situation,” Roland said. “I don’t think there is any one answer to resolving it.”
Naugatuck police spokesman Lt. Bryan Cammarata said there were 20 calls reporting vandalism last month, which is close to average for what the department receives each month.
Cammarata said the department has officers patrolling the downtown area as part of their regular beats to help prevent vandalism.
“We have patrols to try and curb anything of that nature,” Cammarata said.
Roland said it would benefit the borough if the residents helped keep an eye out as well.
“The only thing I would ask to the public is if you see something wrong down there or anything damaging going on down there, which affects the integrity and beauty of the Green, to call the police department. That would be helpful to us,” Roland said.