Holland Park vandalized, community members pitch in

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

HOLLAND — Sometime between the night of Tuesday, June 8, and the morning of Wednesday, June 9, a shelter house at Holland Park was spray painted with profanity and obscene images. By that Friday, the graffiti was painted over.

Holland Park Board President Melanie Barrett said the vandals have not been identified. The park does have security cameras, she said, but the incident was late at night so it was too difficult to identify faces. The vandals are believed to be from out of town, Barrett said, but it has not been confirmed.

Regardless, there will be more security cameras installed soon.

“We’ve got some new things like our school house and all that, so we just want to make sure we cover them,” Barrett said.

The park has never dealt with vandalism before besides minor incidents, she said.

“You know, someone might knock a door handle off or throw a rock through a window,” she said, “but most of the time, there are people in the park day and night so this kind of stuff doesn't happen. For the most part, we’re pretty well controlled, and we have a town marshal that’s in there a lot.”

The park board posted photos of the incident on its Facebook June 9, which received more than 70 comments and 200 shares. Within a day or so, local residents Ron LaGrange and Clyde Kissling were already painting over and sanding the graffiti.

“We have a really good following of people,” Barrett said.

The park is a point of pride for Holland, she said, as it is one of the few ways to find free activities in the community. The median household income in Holland is lower than Dubois County as a whole, and 19% of Holland residents live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“A lot of people around here can’t afford to go to expensive parks and stuff,” Barrett said. “We have playgrounds, campsites, a splash pad, fishing … so it’s kind of nice for the local people.”

The park is currently working on several projects, such as installing railings on the splash pad and renovating the tennis courts.

There was also an incident in late May where some window screens in the school house at the park were damaged, but it was not considered vandalism, Barrett said.




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