- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Just about one week after the St. Mary’s County commissioners cut a ribbon on a new building at a boat ramp, the facilities were vandalized last month.
The St. Mary’s sheriff’s office reported the June 24 incident where “unknown suspect(s) stole and damaged electric meters, bathroom signs and the downspouts at the bathroom facilities at the Wicomico Shores boat ramps.”
County officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facilities on June 17 at the neighborhood pier.
“I don’t know if it was theft or vandalism. I’m seeing it as vandalism,” said Brian Loewe, director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks, this week. “They hit the brand-new building.”
Using a $99,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the recreation and parks department built an entirely new restroom building for the boat ramp at Wicomico Shores, got rid of the old restroom building, renovated the picnic pavilion and added some walkways to become compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
One week following the completion of the work and the formal ceremony last month, “somebody stole the meter off the back of the building,” Loewe said. “That’s dangerous.”
There are no valuable materials inside an electrical meter that someone could sell, he said after speaking with the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative. That meter has since been replaced.
A downspout was ripped off the building, the metal signs with symbols for men and women on the restroom doors were taken off and the security light over the doors was pulled off the building, Loewe said.
The light has to be repaired and the downspout has to be replaced.
Loewe said of the Wicomico Shores boat ramp is “a nice area — a lot of use. It’s a shame we had some vandalism. We’ll try to get the repairs done soon as possible.”
While the damage was minor at Wicomico Shores, in 2009 another part of a county park was destroyed. On March 17, 2009, a man and a teenager took an excavator from private property and demolished the playground at Elms Beach Park in southern Lexington Park. They caused at least $93,000 in damage, county staff said at the time.
One of the men, Christopher B. Clausen of Lexington Park, pleaded guilty in 2010 of malicious destruction of property and was sentenced to 120 days in jail, according to online court records. His parents also paid $25,000 in restitution. A teenage boy from Lexington Park was also sentenced to 18 months in custody and was ordered to pay $96,169 in restitution, according to archived reports in The Enterprise.