City fountain vandalized for second straight weekend

Published 11:22 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The city park fountain was vandalized for the second straight weekend, and city workers are becoming frustrated not just with the action, but with the cost that it is creating.

On June 5, city workers found lots of bread floating in the fountain, coating the top of the water and killing most of the koi — the breed of fish occupying the fountain — in the water. On June 7, workers found peanuts and shells floating in the water and more dead fish.

Last Saturday night, someone vandalized the fountain again, throwing benches and flowers into the fountain and cutting the head off of one of the fish.

Email newsletter signup

“I was at the Civic Center, watering flowers on Sunday morning,” said city horticulture employee Sheryl Cunningham. “A couple who walk all the time came by and asked me if I had been up to the fountain and said it had been vandalized again.

“I stopped watering and went to check on it, and there were dead fish floating in there, and someone had put a bench in the fountain upside-down and pulled flowers out of the pots and thrown them into the water. When I went back to get the fish, somebody had put a big carp in there that didn’t belong in there, and one of the heads was cut off of one of the fish in there.”

Workers also saw that someone had thrown a rock on the top of the fountain and broke that part of the statuary in the fountain.

“Now, the water is coming out of the back end of the fountain, and we’ve got to get that repaired,” said Barbara Blevins, the director of the city horticulture department which oversees the care of the fountain and the fish.

“There is also some kind of film on the water. I got Fred Hansard at the Yacht Basin to take a sample. Apparently, somebody put something in the water.”

Blevins estimated that the cost of killing the fish was $3,000 to $4,000. Other costs include the extra work being done, replacing the water each time it is vandalized and now, the cost to fix the fountain where it was damaged by a rock.

A cash reward has been posted by the Demopolis Police Department for information leading to an arrest for the vandalism committed at the city park fountain over the last two weekends.

Demopolis police chief Tommie Reese said he believes the same people committed the vandalism in each incident.

“People can call the DPD Tip Line at 289-1475,” Reese said.

Both Reese and Demopolis mayor Mike Grayson have expressed disgust at whoever is damaging one of the city’s most beautiful landmarks.

“Demopolis is our city,” Reese said. “It’s disheartening for people to do this to city property and to our city. The beautification committee works so hard to make that fountain and our whole city look beautiful. For someone to have nothing else better to do but destroy property — that’s just not right.”