Vandals continue to hit Rio Rancho park

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – With construction for a Rio Rancho park in its home stretch, officials say they can’t seem to catch a break.

“We’re just trying to get the park done,” said Jay Hart of Rio Rancho Parks and Recreation. “We’re trying to put our money and effort into getting this wonderful park built.”

“A Park Above” is currently under construction. It’s designed for people with and without disabilities.

However, recently the park keeps getting hit by vandalism. Authorities said someone smashed a window out of a city truck on site, chocolate cake was smeared on benches and part of the sidewalk was sprayed.

“To see it getting vandalized before its even finished being built is disheartening,” said Shelby Smith, City Councilor for District 5.

In the most recent incident, police said someone painted graffiti on the wall near the entrance of the park. City workers have already cleaned the wall multiple times but said a portion of the writing is still there.

“We can try to repair it and it does cost time and money, but as everyone knows it’s never quite as good as it was before they vandalized it,” said Hart.

For resident Gary Starin, he’s waited patiently for the park to open for his granddaughter.

“She has cerebral palsy and cogitative issues and this park is going to be perfect,” said Starin.

Starin said he wants the vandalism to stop.

“People like that are morons,” said Starin. “How would you like for me to come over to your house, break your windows, kick your door in, and do stuff like that?”

Overall, authorities are now asking the public to keep an eye out.

“Obviously there’s some misguided individuals in the area who for whatever reason think that this is some type of activity they want to pursue,” said Captain Paul Rogers of the Rio Rancho Police Department. “I can guarantee when they’re caught, they aren’t going to appreciate that activity anymore.”

Authorities asked the public to call 505-891-7226 if they notice any suspicious activity. To be part of a park watch, call Hart at 505-891-5037.

The park is set to open in late summer.

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