WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – What was once known as a “best kept secret” in the city of Winston-Salem is close to officially becoming a city park. But, a select few are seeing the project as an opportunity to do damage.
“When you’re spending your money to fix issues that are caused by vandalism, you’re taking away from other elements that we could be putting back into the park,” said William Royston, Recreation and Park Director for the city of Winston-Salem.
Since the beginning of construction, Royston says vandals have caused nearly $70,000 worth of damage, either to the site itself, or the equipment of the contractor responsible for phase I of the project.
“All it takes is for 15 minutes, or 20 minutes, for someone to come out and do several thousand dollars’ worth of damage,” he added.
Phase I of the projects – for Quarry Park alone – is $4.1 million dollars. Already completed is an overlook, which scales above what used to be the highest ground surrounding the quarry, providing spectacular views of the quarry itself, as well as the Winston-Salem skyline.
“When you take taxpayer dollars, and you’re trying to invest to create such a wonderful amenity for people to use, it’s really sad and comes across as unappreciative for those few people who want to come in here and just do damage,” Royston said.
It is believed that a small group or small groups of juveniles are responsible for the damage.
“If we can’t appreciate it, we can’t expect other people to come from the outside to come here and have the kind of appreciation for it that we expect,” Royston said.
The city expects that phase I of the project will be completed by the end of February. They will then tend to some minor details, before people can start coming to the park sometime in the early spring.