Vandals destroy property along biking/hiking trail

(Posted May 18, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Vandalism resulted in damaged and destroyed property along the multi-purpose biking and hiking trail near Wilson Road, west of Lilly Chapel.

Four times this spring, vandals have tipped over the portable toilet available to trail users at that location. One of those times was May 12. The company that services the toilet put it back up late on May 13, anchoring it with chains and iron stakes.

The next morning, members of the Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails (FMCPT), the volunteer group that helps to maintain the trail, discovered a hole sawn into the wood enclosure that surrounds the toilet. Vandals also shot up and sawed down a nearby trail etiquette sign and sawed down three wooden barrier posts marking the trailhead parking area.

About a quarter mile further east down the trail, vandals sawed in half a trailside picnic table and sawed through one of the supporting posts for the roof over the table.

FMCPT members reported the damage to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Then on May 17, a volunteer discovered the toilet had once again been tipped over, but only partially due to the iron stakes and chains.

The Madison County Park District Board, responsible for maintenance of the Madison County portion of the trail, is covering the cost of repairs to the toilet enclosure, parking barriers, and sign. Franklin County Metroparks is responsible for maintaining the section of the trail where the picnic table was damaged.

The Madison County Park District Board is comprised of the three county commissioners, David Dhume, Mark Forrest and Paul Gross.

“When people come around and destroy property like that, it’s regrettable,” Dhume said.

Wayne Roberts, FMCPT executive director, said the portable toilet was installed in late 2007 and had not been vandalized until this spring.

“It would be an easy decision to shut down the (toilet) facility, but I don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” Roberts said.

Suspicious activity anywhere along the trail should be reported to the Sheriff’s Office, he added.

The hole in the toilet enclosure has been patched and the etiquette sign re-erected. The sawn off posts were turned into bench seating in place of the parking area barriers.

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