Franklin Countys First News

Vandalism kills two trees, damages another at playground


A line of maples and oaks planted in 2008 is interrupted after two maples, (to the right of the trash can), were vandalized this summer and a third was badly damaged (to the left of the trash can). At far right, the maple with a plastic bag holding it upright, cannot be saved and will need to be replaced.

One of the maples was discovered badly damaged Monday morning is held upright with a plastic bag tied around the truck. The tree was given as a gift to the town by a local couple.

FARMINGTON - Vandalism is believed to blame for the destruction of two maple trees and for damaging a third maple that were planted three years ago at the new Farmington Community Playground at Hippach Field.

The trees were among those planted by the Farmington Conservation Commission for the newly constructed playground structure behind the tennis courts. A month ago, the Parks and Recreation Department crew discovered one of the 12-foot tall maples had been snapped in half.

Yesterday morning, another maple had apparently been bent to the ground so severely that it split and separated the trunk in several places, effectively killing it. In a third instance, limbs were pulled some time ago on one side of a maple in the same line of trees.

Two of the trees, which cost $150 each in 2008, were funded along with several more at the site through the state's Project Canopy Assistance Program. The tree damaged this week was a gift to the town by a Farmington couple who planted it in celebration of the birth of their first child.

According to Steve Shible, director of the recreation department, the trees may be replaced using funds from a reserve account set up by the Parents for the Playground group that raised funds and installed the playground structure in 2008.

(Editor's note: This writer helped plant the Project Canopy trees in 2008.)

Limbs were pulled from one side of a maple at the playground. It will take years for the tree to recover from the damage.

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28 Responses »

  1. so sad people have to tear up a good thing out of shear boredom.

  2. It is sad that a community came together and worked hard on making amazing play ground for some one to do such a thing.

  3. @ Suzanne, I agree with every word but boredom. Replace that with utter stupidity and you've got a winner.

  4. I wish the delinquents doing this would get caught.

  5. About time parents started watching over their children and put them to work doing something constructive, not destructive!

  6. So many people were involved in this great community project. I sincerely hope that those responsible for the vandalism are caught and severely punished. Parents---we are tired of bearing the brunt of your lack of supervision---take care of your children.

  7. Put up a Game Camera. You'll find out whos around and when thier there.

  8. Bill, Me thinks that if a 'game camera' is put up, that will be the next item stolen!!!

  9. That is just plain out right STUPIDITY.. what could possibly have been fun about that.. drunk punks.

  10. Bill, in this day and age, in that part of town, someone would steal the game cameras. I can think of a quite a few people by name that would definitely do that, and they're frequently around that area too

  11. I have driven by there in the past, and have seen little kids swinging on the branches of these young trees, so I'm really not shocked to read about this. How about if the parents that bring their children to this park actually PAY ATTENTION to what their kids do, instead of talking on the phone and letting the kids be "free range"?

  12. ps. they are need to question parent's ability to parent over TREES

  13. I think it is about time that Farmington come up with a place for teens to go and have a place to be, a skateboard park or something, yes I realize that too in time will get destroyed. However there is nothing for teens to do in this town but cause trouble, especially when parents do not take time to see what their children are doing. We have parks and playgrounds for the little guys and parents to meet and enjoy time, however what is there for the older children. You see teens playing in the roads as a place to use their skateboards....I think it is time we think about giving them an area to enjoy so they are out of the roads and a bit more busy. Poll teens and see what they would like to have incorporated in thier town for them to do. Just a thought!

  14. Even though they are just "TREES"... It is still money out of someones pocket, and to the family who donated the tree and planted for their first child, it is a precious memory. Being a widowed, working mom, it is hard to watch your childrens every move, this is where I would hope that the public would step in. If I saw my children or anyone elses destroying a tree in the park, I would have said something. Sometime kids now a days just dont realize the cost and importance of something so simple as a tree. (i.e. go get a s'more stick). It is a sad thing. Maybe a sign warning of the consequeces of destruction to the trees/flowers/property is needed. Although, that probably would be vandalized as well.

  15. I understand the problem, and giving teens a place to "hang out" would be great, but just take a look at Livermore Falls and their skate park, its getting destroyed and when a sign gets put up with a warning that it could be shut down it too gets destroyed. A place for teens to spend time would be a great! a great waste of money

  16. In college I was required to complete 20 hours of community service to achieve a degree. I think community service should be a requirement for a high school diploma. Maybe if teens feel the positive impact of doing something good for others, they will see outside of the typical teenage ego-centric universe and strive to be a better person.

    I agree with Farmington Citizen, there isn't much for teens to do except get in trouble. The problem is, creating a place for teens costs money and the community might not support funding such a project.

  17. farmington used to have a stakeboard park, the town filled it in with dirt. I'm not sure if it was vandalism or the insurance liability that closed the park, but it was not used much at all when it was here. I don't think a stakeboard park will entertain your vandals. Maybe there should be some good parenting classes for the parents to learn how to be a parent.

  18. My husband and I are very sad over the loss of the tree. Our son, whom we take the park often, and will be turning three soon, was just beginning to understand the significance of the tree. Thank you for thinking of us, Pam.

  19. As a member of the town of Farmington Recreation committee it sadden me to learn about this vandalism to the trees or anything else they may destroy. It is time that the parents of all children paid more attention to what their children are doing. I agree tehe shool needs to incoerate into the cirriculum a community service class.Teens have to much free time on their hands and no parent supervision time to make changes at hhome and pay more attention to their children. Hopefully if the recreation committee replaces the trees they will not be destroy ed again. Maybe security cameras need to be placed on the field to deter vandalism. If the people who destroy ed the trees are caught and punished with community service not a slap on the wrist.

  20. Too much time on their hands. Time to mow a lawn, paper route ,something to teach them how to make a $. We don't need any more people in the "system'.

  21. I am a parent of a "bored" teen with a skateboard and, although I am disheartened and disgusted by the vandalism in the park, I think we can't simply say parents need to watch their kids. Parents are working, and teens aren't going to stay home with a sitter. This area has very little for teens to do, and with the increase in job losses in the area- and adults taking any work they can to survive, summer jobs for these kids are at a premium. Add that to many places refusing to hire kids under 16 (including rec lawn mowing jobs for liability purposes) and we have a multitude of 12-15 year olds looking for something to do. I am fortunate that my child has a place to go and somebody to be accountable toward, but not all do, and it is a constant difficulty to balance working and supervising a teenager. Even the most attentive parents can be faced with a child who simply makes those choices we all pray we never have to deal with.

    As for adding skate parks, many of the kids "playing" in the street are on long boards. These boards are designed to go longer distances and faster than a regular skateboard and many college students use them as a form of transportation around campus. A skate park would not get those kids out of the roads. Maybe some clear safety regulations around where longboards are allowed would be more appropriate to keep these kids safer (including helmet laws and rights of way similar to a bicycle). And personally, I prefer my son outside on his board than inside on the couch. Teens do have the option of hanging out at the Farmington Rec Center. There are activities for them to do there in designated times. The problem isn't lack of a place, it's lack of interest, knowledge, or ambition.

    I think there is value in adding a community service requirement to graduation. Certainly we have lost something in our society- a sense of responsibility toward our neighbors and neighborhood. A work ethic, which was instilled early in many of us through family chores and babysitting. Many kids have a sense of entitlement these days, and somehow I wish we could make them realize the effects their attitudes have on all of us and the effect it will have on them as adults.

  22. T_R_B, maybe next time it will be a car . Then you can say its just a car. Maybe they will burn down a house, then you can say its just a house. Your attidude of if it's not mine, so what, IS the problem. Hopefully your not passing it on to your children.

  23. I agree with wilton mom. You can be the best parent in the world and still have your children make a "wrong choice"... as we all have one time or other in our life. No one is perfect, and if you think you are then "that's your imperfection". I do not agree that it is the parents fault. Not in all cases, that is. A lot of us work hard to raise our kids, and we do the best we can with what we have to work with. And it would be those parents that if they found out their child was responsible would most definitely make things right. Keep up the good work moms and dads, and lets all hope for the best that our children make the "right choices."

  24. Please don't lump all teens into the same bunch. Many of the kids I know are plenty busy (yes, even in the summer). I am aware that some of the things they do cost their parents (or them) money that not everyone could spare, and I also know that some of them are busy doing things they started doing a number of years ago, but there are plenty of places that would be happy to have young volunteers (I know the garden out by the hospital is looking for people, for one). I have a young acquaintance who gives some of his valuable time to play games with people in a nursing home (where he has no relatives). There are a number of things to do, but some young people need a little push, and I don't mean out the door ...

  25. I see so many people pointing fingers. But when we were younger we got jobs to keep us busy. But todays kids are the "Y" generation. Why do i have to do this and that.They spend so much time doing nothing. We give them video games and other entertainment to keep them busy. What happened to the good ole days.When your trusted your kids when they said there were going to bed or staying at someones house. But they sneeked out of the house ,while their hardworking parents were asleep.We need to make our kids more responsible for their actions. If they do something wrong.Let them stay the weekend in jail. Maybe if might knock some sense into these kids ,who know everything.If the parents keep protecting them. When are they really going to grow up and be responsible adults.The world is a bad place and we cant keep them in a bubble.We need to show our kids that their are nice people out there,but there are predators too

  26. Well said, Kippy! So many volunteeer opportunities around here, especially in the summer. I know that many people will come up with excuses why their kids can't give something to the community----transportation, parents work schedules, etc. I know that parenting is not an easy job, but it is a choice. When my children were growing up, I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. Sure, we made financial sacrifices but we knew we were responsible for raising our children and didn't expect the entire community to take on the job of parenting our children.

  27. Do you know for sure it was a person who caused the damage? Just curious since the last bad thunderstorm we had took limbs, saplings, and whole trees in my yard.

  28. Yes there are nursing homes and other places where kids can volunteer today and it would be appreciated. They could also go to an elderly neighbor and offer to do yard work or something that they need done and not expect to get paid. Some elderly cannot afford to pay but would love to have a kid offer to do it and they might be surprised at what kind of thanks they would get and respect for what they did. Kids today that they should learn that money is not everything but KINDNESS is everything .THINK ABOUT IT. And no the storm did not do the damage it was done by a human being.