All-terrain vehicle joyriding is destroying a widely-used park in Waterbury, according to city officials.
Patches of grass have been severely damaged at Hamilton Park with one of the tracks close to a memorial for veterans.
People visiting the park can see large rings scorched into the grass and the ATV tires have damaged the area so bad that no more green is visible.
The East End Community Club raised $11,000 to have the Brick Walkway for veterans installed the park. However, it was near some of the ATV damage.
"To me, it's almost like desecrating a cemetery," said Terry Longo, who is the president for the East End Community Club. "It's a place where people purchase bricks to honor their loved ones dead and alive."
ATV riders have also vandalized spots near the community pool and sports fields in Hamilton Park. While city workers said ATV riders are mostly seen at night, one woman told Eyewitness News she's seen them dart through in the daytime as well.
"There are a lot of children around here and there isn't an actual place for them to ride," said Kimberley Meade of Waterbury. "And for them to ride along the paths where people are walking and children are playing, it's dangerous."
Police have a difficult time catching these riders since pursuing them can be a danger to others as well.
However, in March, police arrested 33-year-old Dennis Rowell after he tore up the brand new field at Wilby High School with his ATV.
"If these people with the ATVs need a place, then let's talk," Longo said. "Let's see if we can get a park together for them. But don't destroy what we're trying to do."
Longo told Eyewitness News she'll be meeting with the mayor's office next week to see what they can do.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer.More >
It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer. Coroner Gary Hargrove said Janaya's body was found in a bathroom.More >