Vandals damaging popular Shreveport playground, students raise money for repairs

Vandals damaging popular Shreveport playground, students raise money for repairs

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -A popular Shreveport playground is constantly becoming the target of vandalism.

Over ten years ago the non-profit organization Right to Play, Inc. created the Leaps and Bounds playground that sits off of Youree Drive. Over the years, vandals have been damaging the park.

The playground is considered a boundless playground meaning every child no matter their needs or disabilities can come out and enjoy the playground.

Just a few weeks ago more damage has been done to the park, this time at the musical instrument section.

Cindy Murray sits on the Right to Play, Inc board and says that replacing these instruments can cost anywhere from four to five thousand dollars.

“I’ve worked in other areas that hasn’t had nearly the damage (of) this place, so I’m not sure exactly why it’s targeted but it’s just very frustrating,” she said.

Last year someone came and spray pained graffiti all over the playground costing the board nearly $10,000 to repair.

Murray says the non-profit gave the playground over to the Shreveport Parks and Recreations Department. She believes if vandals continue to destroy the playground and the board stops raising money to fix it, the playground could shut down.

“Over time when when the board is no longer operational, (and) we’re not doing any active fundraising because the park is complete, when that money’s gone I don’t know,” she said. “You know there’s so many other things that the city has to take care of that parks aren’t going to be the highest priority.”

A.C. Steere Elementary School’s students also uses the playground during their recess.

When students saw the graffiti done to the park last year they were upset.

“We were suppose to play at the park that day, but we didn’t so everybody was wondering why and it was because of that, so it was just kind of sad,” said 5th grader Molly McQueary.

“I remember being at the field and seeing the damage, and I was just like wow someone actually had the guts to do this to little kids,” said 5th grader Mia Kiihnl. “It’s so bad, and it’s so mean."

These students along with others at the school decided to raise money for the playground as part of their service base learning project.

They sold cakes and sweets during recess and have raised almost $300 that they plan to give to the Right to Play, Inc.

“To see my students take action against people doing the wrong things and making the wrong choices is really wonderful, because I hope that they’re able to do that in a peaceful, kind way in the future as adults,” said teacher Monica Lockard.

Murray says they are currently working to find the money to replace the instruments. She says around the spring or summer of this year is when they will work to get the instruments replaced.

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