North Adams Skating Rink Vandalized
Stall doors in the bathrooms were kicked by ice-skate clad vandals at the Peter W. Foote Memorial Skating Rink.
Mayor Richard Alcombright points to urinal dividers that were destroyed. The dividers will need new brackets and anchoring system.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Vandals caused thousands of dollars of damage Friday at the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink.
Both the men's and the women's restrooms were damaged during Friday night's community skating time. In the recently renovated restrooms, urinal dividers were torn down, the doors were kicked with skates leaving dents, some of the concrete was chipped and one of the sinks was chipped. A full footprint was found near the ceiling where a skater had climbed onto the sinks.
The city will have to spend thousands of dollars to replace all of the damaged items.
"It's on the city's dime to keep this maintained. Somebody has to pay for this," Mayor Richard Alcombright said Monday. "We're not going to tolerate vandalism in this building."
Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morrocco said police are accepting anonymous tips and if the perpetrators are found they will be prosecuted "to the full extent of the law" and have to pay for the damages. Additionally, a police officer will be patrolling the rink during the final two nights of community skate time.
"You can have a successful prosecution without an eyewitness," Morrocco said. "With the city having limited resources, this is crazy."
Anywhere from 250 to 300 children were at the rink Friday night and the rink's small staff was unable to finger the culprits. Placing an officer there will help deter vandalism but comes as an additional cost to the city, Alcombright said.
"It's unfortunate that we have to put an officer here," Alcombright said. "We just want to have a nice facility. This is a place for families."
Alcombright was informed of the damage Monday morning via e-mail and went to inspect the damage later.
The bathrooms at the skating rink were newly refurbished in April through grant funding of $160,000. According to Michael Nuvallie, of the city's office of community development, the bathrooms were one of several phases of renovations. Close to $2 million has been invested in the rink, he said.
Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morrocco vowed to prosecute the culprits to the full extent of the law.
"We've been chipping away at this for years," Nuvallie said. "We're up near the $2 million mark and we're not done."
Renovations began in 2007 when they city took over the rink's operations with a new roof and each year the city applies for grants to continue fixing the place up.
A new floor, mechanical room, boards and glass and doors have also been renovated, Nuvallie said. The next step is infrared heaters for the benches and renovating the parking lot will follow, he said.
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Skating Rink Rededication Slated Saturday
The city's rededicating the skating rink for a native son killed in Vietnam.
Peter W. Foote III, an Army sergeant, was only 21 when he was killed in combat in 1968, saving a comrade.
His name was added to the rink last year (Peter W. Foote III Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink) at the behest of former Mayor John Barrett III, who announced the effort in 2008.
The new mayor, Mayor Richard Alcombright, is inviting the public to attend the ceremony this Saturday, May 15, at 11 a.m. at South Church Street rink.
"Peter W. Foote III was one of many North Adams natives who bravely served our country in the Vietnam War," said Alcombright. "Peter was the only North Adams native who paid the ultimate sacrifice, as he gave his life while saving the lives of others."
There will be several speakers, color guard and musical selections by the Drury High School band. The ceremonies will take about an hour.
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