Vandals hit playground in North Berkeley Park

by Trish Rudder

The question is “why”? Why would it be fun to destroy playground equipment for kids?

Morgan County Parks & Recreation member Melissa Bartley reported the destruction of playground equipment in North Berkeley Community Park at the October 15 Bath Town Council meeting.

This was the third time Bartley reported that vandalism had occurred within the last few months.

Town of Bath Mayor Scott Merki said on Monday a wireless camera is to be installed in the park.

Parks & Recreation Director Dawn Beals said the electric company is installing a light on an existing pole this week. It will cost the organization $15 a month to provide additional security.

The organization pays the Town of Bath $48 a quarter for a combined safety fee/street fee, said town clerk Sharron Corrick.

The park is on Williams Street, east of the old CSX Train Depot lot.

Beals said the two-seater swing was broken off the swing set and tossed aside, the stakes were removed that hold the black bumpers in place that surround the mulch, and the bumpers were moved from the mulch. Mulch is used in playgrounds to cushion falls.

Along with vandalism, drug paraphernalia was found in the playground. Beals said a spoon was found on the ground that was used to heat and liquefy a drug to inject.

Town of Bath Police Chief T.J. Johnson said on Friday that the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police in Berkeley Springs help out by patrolling the area at night. Johnson said he would contact them to keep a closer check on that area.

Johnson said the town police department is looking to fill a full time police officer position. The former officer resigned last February and they have not filled the position.

Merki said the council is looking into offering better benefits for that position.