Blackfoot park bathrooms will be locked overnight after vandals destroy toilet, deface stalls
BLACKFOOT — Spray paint vandalism and the destruction of a toilet have caused the city of Blackfoot to lock up public city park bathrooms during the night.
“The spray paint, the markers, or pushing stuff over or leaving debris in the bathrooms has been pretty common. But the breaking of the toilet and ripping the stall walls down and different things like that —- that’s a new level right there,” said Greg Austin, public information officer for the city of Blackfoot.
Austin told EastIdahoNews.com that the graffiti has been happening in the city parks for at least the past two months. But as for the broken toilet, that just happened within the last month at Jensen Grove.
“Some of them (the vandalism) are at the bathrooms down at Jensen Grove and one of them is the bathrooms over at the Courthouse Square, over on the east side of town. We’ve had issues over at Veterans Park too with the bathroom over there,” Austin explained.
He said, for now, all city park bathrooms will be locked after 9 p.m. and opened at 7 a.m. Typically, the park bathrooms remain open 24 hours except during the wintertime.
“Joggers are out at 6 a.m. in the morning and would really love to have a bathroom and now they can’t,” he explained.
Austin said the smashed toilet cost the city about $350 to replace at Jensen Grove. As for the spray paint and marker vandalism, that’s cost a couple of thousand dollars in labor and paint to clean up. It has been very expensive for the city and he explained the money being used is being taken from other park projects in order to keep the bathrooms functional.
“The parks crew, I would say, half of their time, they have to go around and maintain this stuff and clean up after the graffiti versus going out and mowing the grass and making sure everything looks nice for everybody to use,” he said.
Austin explained he needs help from the community to find those responsible. He said he is working with the Blackfoot Police Department.
“If you see something, say something. We definitely need the public’s help in preventing incidents like this. That is taxpayer money and we want to make sure that it is used properly,” he said.
Austin said if you have information on the responsible parties, please call City Hall at (208) 785-8600 or the Blackfoot Police Department at (208) 785-1234.
“We are trying to keep an eye on it. We are paying people overtime to not only come in and lock and open the bathrooms but to kind of keep and eye on things and keep things clean for the citizens,” he said.