REPEATED VANDALISM LEADS TO BUTTERFIELD PARK CLOSURE

REPEATED VANDALISM LEADS TO BUTTERFIELD PARK CLOSURE

A county-maintained park in the East Mesa community of Butterfield Park has been closed due to repeated acts of vandalism.

Ken Barton, Doña Ana County’s director of facilities and parks, said the closure will remain in effect until a community group can be identified whose members will agree to keep a watchful eye on the area, thereby deterring vandals from destroying park buildings and equipment.

“In the last few weeks,” Barton said, “we have identified more than $8,000 worth of damage to the park. We go out and clean it up and then, the next day, we have more vandalism to contend with. I’ll be working with the community to devise a system by which the park can be locked in the evenings and unlocked during the day, but until that system is in place, and until I have a clear commitment from the area residents that they want to work with us to keep the park operational, it will remain closed.”

Barton encouraged residents in all areas of the county to report vandalism and take an active role in protecting county park facilities by promptly reporting vandalism in progress.

“Last February, with help from the community of Organ, we apprehended and prosecuted a group of teens who had inflicted more than $4,000 in damage to a community park in Organ. That park has been repaired and it remains open. If we can catch the people doing this, we will absolutely prosecute,” Barton said. “But to do that, we need the help of the law-abiding community members who enjoy the parks.

Barton said other parks that are systematically vandalized could face similar closures in the future.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.