Vandals set neighborhood playground on fire

A Parks Department official calls this vandalism 'a crime against kids'. It will take an estimated $200,000--money the city does not have--to repair the playground.

Vandals set neighborhood playground on fire

CREATED Mar 21, 2012

Reporter: Stephani Ruiz

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The Vista del Prado park is taped off- burned and ruined for so many neighborhood kids who used to play there.

"I don't see what they get out of doing that to the kids. To me, it's vandalism," Clinton Hines said. 

Hines used to take his grandson to play at the park.

"He used to go down there and meet kids there and they used to play on that," Hines said.

Several neighborhood families join Hines in his frustration. The city is also upset about the recent vandalism.

"We feel as if it's a real outrage. These are crimes against kids. Having a playground like this down really affects people's ability to bring their grandchildren and children to the park and enjoy the park, which taxpayers pay for and it's our job to keep them in good condition which we try to," Jim Conroy, with Tucson Parks and Recreation, said.

A job that is especially challenging with this type of vandalism. It's a consistent and troubling problem, the city says, costing money and wasting resources.

Crews are cleaning up graffiti every day at city parks and copper thefts along the baseball fields cancel Little League games.

This crime alone will cost up to $200,000 to replace the playground- money the city just doesn't have.

"Replacement is obviously challenging during these challenging budget times to find those sorts of resources for replacement, it's not easy," Conroy said.

The parks department is seeking outside funding to help replace the equipment.

"Hundreds of kids and families are affected by it and it strikes an emotional chord with all of us," Conroy said.

If you see any kind of vandalism at a city park, call 911 or 88-Crime.

In this case, there is a $10,000 reward if your information leads to an arrest.