For the second time in a little more than two years, officials from the City of Petal Parks and Recreation Department are temporarily closing the Petal Skate Park on Hillcrest Loop after signs of apparent vandalism.
In a June 22 Facebook post, department director Brian Hall showed pictures of damage to the park’s restroom, including damage to the paper towel dispensers, door and toilet paper dispenser.
“The skate park will remain closed for at least 1 week while we investigate who committed the vandalism in these pictures,” Hall said. “We have a very limited budget and I refuse to constantly waste it on repairing a park that makes no revenue and consistently has vandals.
“I only have a few employees left and they have better things to do than pick up after immature individuals. My apologies to the athletes that do respect the park and use it properly.”
Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to contact the Parks and Recreation Department, which is located at 605 Hillcrest Loop in Petal and can be reached at (601) 554-5440 or by messaging its Facebook page.
In April 2018, the parked was temporarily closed after a vandal or vandals popped the pins out of and pried open a storage room door, where baseball equipment is usually stored. Hall said the vandal put the door back in place to cover his actions, and he suspects the vandal was planning to come back later to steal the equipment.
“It looks like they were preparing to steal everything out of there,” he said in a previous story. “As far as we can tell with inventory, nothing’s gone.”
The skate park isn’t the only Parks and Recreation Department facility that has experience vandalism or theft over the past several months.
In May 2019, the basketball court across from the Petal Family Branch YMCA was closed for about a week after Hall discovered a large hole shattered through a basketball goal on the left side of the hoop. He offered a $100 reward to anyone with information that led to the arrest of a suspect involved with the vandalism.
Hall was later able to replace the glass with the help of the ProDunk Hoops Company, who helped get the department a replacement for $432 rather than the usual $848.
The court was closed again in September 2019 after a suspected vandal dumped trash on the courts over the weekend.
“There’s two cans, and they were full, so it wasn’t the wind and it wasn’t an animal, like some people put on Facebook,” Hall said. “It was purposely taken to the middle of the court and dumped out.
“There were a couple of people that asked why (the cans) were so full. Well, Monday is trash day, so security was pulling them on Sunday.”
In April, two men broke into the concession stand at the city’s sports fourplex on Hillcrest Loop and caused a large amount of damage while looking for money. In surveillance photos taken from the scene, the suspects appear to be wearing baseball caps, hoodies, sunglasses and masks. The men drove a white car away from the fourplex.
“Here’s some info for any future thieves: money goes to the bank; there’s none in any of our buildings,” Hall posted on Facebook. “You’re coming out empty-handed but still getting a breaking (and) entering, vandalism and trespassing charge, and possibly theft if you walked away with anything from the building.
“That’s a lot of charges for a Snickers. Not to mention there’s 800 players that use our fields. That’s a lot of families that will be angry with you for messing with their child’s fun/safe place. Think about it.”