EL RENO, Okla. (KFOR) – Christmas may still be a month and a half away, but light displays are already going in at Legion Park. But unfortunately, that’s made it a target for vandals.
“I think it’s disgraceful. They shouldn’t do it,” said Ruth Hayes, who lives across the street from the park.
While it may not look like much right now, it’s a central park in El Reno where families go to enjoy the holiday season.
“It’s amazing. It is very, very pretty,” Hayes said.
Thousands of twinkling lights brighten up the park after Thanksgiving, but before that can happen, weeks and weeks of work goes into setting up displays and light strands.
But the city said it’s already dealing with issues.
“Probably some kids getting bored, they go out, they unscrew the lights out of the strands of lights, have a nice dodgeball game with them. Destroy them, take them,” said Jeff Kouba, El Reno Public Works Director.
The city said it’s something that happens every year. And while they’ve tried to put up cameras, they’ve never been able to catch the vandals.
“At this point, we believe there’s about 10 to 12 strands gone off of trees. And there were at least four displays that have been knocked over and damaged,” Kouba said.
Looking to get ahead of it, the city has turned to the community– asking neighbors to keep an eye on the display in hopes of keeping any more bulbs from being destroyed.
“Since we live here, right across the street, I’ll watch it and see if I see anybody out there that shouldn’t be there,” Hayes said.
About $1000 in damages were done over the weekend to the display.
The city said they expand the lights each year. However, if the vandalism continues, they may have to look at another location for the lights, one with better security.