Due to persistent vandalism after-hours at the Oscar Park (Gordon Lake) , the public restrooms will be closed daily from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. The public restrooms on the east and west sides of the lake have been vandalized at least twelve times since January 1, 2019, and the unbudgeted costs to repair or replace fixtures have approached $7,000. Most of the vandalism has occurred at night and most during weekends, holidays, spring break and summer break.
City Manager Jerry Flemming stated, “while spring break has ended and summer break is yet to come, the “nonessential” vandalism has continued despite various stay-at-home/shelter-at-home orders due to COVID-19 pandemic.” Coronavirus particles can survive on common, high-touch surfaces such as stainless steel, porcelain or plastic such as faucet handles, paper dispensers, hand driers, and door handles. The public restrooms at the park are most likely to harbor infectious particles at night, prior to the regular morning cleaning and sanitizing. Flemming also stated, “based on the extent of the damage, multiple vandals violating social distance guidelines were required to tear down stall partitions, paper dispensers, and plumbing fixtures. This repetitive and senseless destruction of public property presents a serious inconvenience for responsible park users who use the facilities during those hours. “The public cannot afford hundreds of dollars each month to replace damaged fixtures and countless staff hours repairing and replacing those fixtures. The City of Iowa Park boasts the quantity and quality of well-maintained public parks, recreational facilities, open spaces and lakes.
“This is an unfortunate consequence to the masses as a result of the misbehavior of a few,” said Flemming. Since most park users are responsible citizens, the City apologizes for any inconvenience.