Park fields in Smithfield and Middle Smithfield townships have been damaged by vandals who drove vehicles around them.
The two smaller fields at Minisink Park in Smithfield Township received the most extensive damage, with multiple circular ruts in the fields. A large circle of damage was also made at Echo Lake Park in Middle Smithfield Township.
“Both of these fields are entirely ruined,” Smithfield Township Supervisor Brian Barrett said of the Minisink fields.
The Minisink fields, which are used for soccer by FC Pocono and for football and cheerleading by East Stroudsburg Youth Association, may have been damaged by “a small pickup truck” or “a very powerful mountain bike,” Barrett said.
Other fields are booked up already, Barrett said, so this puts a strain on FC Pocono as spring soccer approaches.
The township’s insurance policy doesn’t cover the ground itself, Barrett said. It would cover damage to the nets or goalposts, but the repair costs for this will come out of the township’s general fund.
The township is seeking estimates from experts, because fixing the damage will be more than “just raking it back in,” Barrett said. The work requires a professional so that children don’t twist an ankle, for example, on an improperly fixed field.
If anyone saw anything at Minisink Park, or knows anything about the damage, they can report it by calling the township at 570-223-5082 or emailing Barrett directly at email@example.com. A reward may be available for information leading to an arrest.
Information about the Echo Lake Park vandalism can be reported to Chris Rain with Middle Smithfield Township Parks and Recreation at 570-223-8920, extension 119.
The vandalism at Minisink Park would have made noise, and involved “some pretty erratic driving,” Supervisor Jacob Pride said.
The damage, which has been reported to state police, would have happened late on Thursday, Feb. 20, or early on Friday, Feb. 21 before it was called in by a woman who walks her dog at the park, Barrett said.
“Somebody did this for a reason,” Barrett said.