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Local Girl Scout troop calls for security changes after vandals damage community garden

Andrew Hyman
Updated: September 12, 2019 05:38 AM
Created: September 11, 2019 11:02 PM

PARMA, N.Y. (WHEC) – With smashed rocks and lights pulled from the ground, this is not how Girl Scout Troop 60450 pictured their community garden in Parma Park.

"We all felt disappointed," troop co-leader Renay Sarnowski said.

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Sarnowski says vandals damaged the garden not once, but twice in the span of a month. Some of the damage dates back to the beginning of August.

The most recent and severe strike, though, was discovered on Sunday. At the scene was a bocce ball, but no other clues on who could have done it.

The garden project was part of the junior troop’s “Bronze Award” requirements. According to Sarnowski, the girls developed the idea based off community response.

The troop built the garden within the shell of two of the park’s former bocce courts, and paid for part of the project using money raised from their cookie sales. The rest was either donated or gathered.

The garden features several benches, custom-painted stones, game boards, and a vegetable garden. The vegetable garden, the scouts say, is supposed to grow food for everyone to pick and grow as they please.

"We did all this for the community, and someone just couldn't appreciate it," Sarnowski said.

According to scouts, it took them several months to complete.

"We put in a lot of effort,” said scout Jessica North. “And just to see someone like destroy it, is kind of like, really sad."

"Some people, they don't really care about some things that people go out of their way to do," said another scout, Samantha Sarnowski.

To try and avoid another incident, the troop asked the Town of Parma to install cameras right near the garden.

We contacted Park’s Department Director, Tom Venniro. He told us the town already has cameras on the adjacent town hall building, and some cameras throughout the park.

“At this time, the Town is looking into the logistics of security cameras in various areas around the facility in addition to discussing the location of the Community Garden,” he said in a statement.  “As unfortunate as this situation is, we hope to address security concerns in addition to raising awareness in attempt mitigate any similar future happenings.”

Scouts tell us they hope the cameras can go in, because they say any more strikes could force them to close down the garden, for good.'

"We don't want to, but we might have to," Renay Sarnowski said.

"Because we know this garden is very important to the community," Sam Sarnowski said.

Sarnowski told us some people in the community have already reached out to help. She says the troop does not have a plan on fixing things yet, but she did invite people to come by and help with upkeep in the garden itself.


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