This editorial was originally published June 23 in The (Columbus) Republic.
Sprawled across 44 acres of Hoosier forest and featuring a cascading waterfall, Anderson Falls is considered a hidden gem to many Bartholomew County residents.
During the summertime, many local families will make day trips to the site to escape their everyday busyness and take in nature’s beauty.
Unfortunately, time and time again, the county park near the Bartholomew-Decatur County line has also seen its fair share of vandalism.
The amount of damage done to the park’s amenities in recent years partially led to the creation of the county’s first full-time park superintendent position in 2020. Upon the hiring of Rich Day to the job, he announced that major efforts were to be made to fix up, and maintain, Anderson Falls’ facilities.
After months of hard work, the project was set to reach completion last week — until a group of hooligans spoiled it for everyone.
On June 15, Day discovered that the park’s restrooms, which had undergone major fixes, had been broken into and covered with spray-painted graffiti. Photos taken by county parks personnel also revealed numerous rocks, trees, benches and other items vandalized.
When Day tried to investigate further, he couldn’t get a clear answer as to when the vandalism occurred — making it even tougher to pinpoint any suspects.
After immediately notifying the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department about the incident, Day said he was told by a deputy that the department would try to get more officers to patrol the area.
It’s impossible to stop vandalism entirely, but the county needs to address the issues immediately.
One option may be to install cameras in the area so faces and license plates can be recorded in the event that vandalism does occur. If a suspect is caught and convicted, fewer vandals will be brave enough to cause damages.
Sheriff’s deputies can’t be expected to spend too much time patrolling the area, as it’s in a secluded area in the corner of the county that’s largely quiet most weeks.
Action can and should be taken to help keep Anderson Falls a place that everyone wants to visit.
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