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Vandals hit Rosemount parks

Rosemount police are looking for the people responsible for a number

of acts of vandalism this summer at Rosemount parks. Parks employees

are just trying to clean up the messes.

There have been several instances of vandalism this summer. Some are

relatively minor - broken light fixtures and other property damage -

but other instances have created serious costs for the city and

inconvenience for the city and park users alike.

Portable toilets have been burned on two occasions at Schwarz Pond

Park, and, most recently, someone broke 15 sprinkler heads on an

irrigation system at Jaycee Park.

The sprinkler incident required parks workers to abandon other

projects so they could fix the sprinklers before the leaking water

did serious damage to the grass at Jaycee Park. Rosemount Parks and

Recreation director Dan Schultz said each sprinkler head costs about

$100 to replace.

"When there's 15 of them, that adds up quickly," Schultz said. "And

that doesn't include staff time. When we're out needing to work on

other things that's a big job to undertake."

At Schwarz Pond Park the inconvenience falls more on the Rosemount

residents who use the park. Because of the toilet-burning incidents

the portable toilets have been removed to the park.

"We just couldn't afford to keep putting them back," Schultz said.

"That's one of those things where services are impacted."

Vandalism at the parks is nothing new. The city sees some every

summer as days get longer and warmer and people spend more time

outside. But Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken said the amount

of vandalism has increased this summer and incidents such as the

sprinkler head damage are more serious than the city usually sees.

Kalstabakken said it can be difficult for police to keep a close

enough eye on the parks to catch someone in the act of vandalizing

city property.

"We have however many parks there are plus all the homes and

streets," Kalstabakken said. "We're not there. Parks are there for

people to use, so it's a little more difficult to say it's suspicious

when there's someone hanging out (in a park) because that's what

people do in parks."

Kalstabakken has asked Rosemount residents, especially those who live

near parks, to report unusual behavior.

"We're hoping that more eyes looking into the parks will deter the

acts from happening," he said.