Police officers in Rock Falls spent all day Tuesday repairing a park for veterans after it was vandalized numerous times.
The officers put down a fresh coat of paint to cover graffiti that had been painted on walls, flagpoles, and stones in the park. Police say a group of juveniles caused the damage during multiple visits to the park over the past few months. However, police say those juveniles have since been caught and will be held accountable.
The damage to the park was originally estimated to be more than $10,000, but police hope their efforts can help minimize that cost for the city. Although police were able to patch up plenty of the vandalism, there is still some damage remaining on a granite Pearl Harbor memorial in the park that contractors say is likely “irreparable.”
Being veterans themselves, and knowing some deceased veterans whose names are etched into memorial stones in the park, police say the repairs mean a lot to them.
“I’ve looked through there and there’s a lot of names in there I recognize … some within the police department, some just from the community,” said David Pilgrim, Rock Falls police chief. “Just the military, in general, is something that I feel is important, and that we need to keep those people in our minds.”
Rock Falls police now hope that people can visit the park without any distractions, especially this Thursday for Veteran’s Day.
“To have a space like this where, you know, people can come and maybe reflect on their family member’s service, or maybe they’ve got a stone out here, it’s just a nice place to have,” said Pilgrim. “The better it looks, the better it is for everybody.”