WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - The city of Walnut Ridge added a new ordinance to their city council agenda that would place stricter punishments on those caught vandalizing Stewart Park.
In the past, the city discovered their Christmas decorations destroyed or messed with.
Bryson Long, a Walnut Ridge road superintendent, said every morning they make runs through the park to check on their lights.
He said people have stolen bulbs, unplugged lights, knocked them over and even thrown some displays into the pond.
Long explained it is hard to see their work destroyed in just one night.
"It's heartbreaking and frustrating because there's a lot more work that goes in than just setting them up," Long said. "The ordering, the shipment, the organizing, the getting them up, taking them down. Its hard work and people don't realize how hard we work on this stuff."
The vandalism does not stop after Christmas.
Long said they have had people draw obscene things on benches along with many other acts of destruction.
In the past, they have placed Christmas lights only in the front of the park due to the back area having too many places for people to hide.
The ordinance Monday night would place a $1,000 fine for first offenses and then a $5,000 fine plus possible jail time for later offenses.
Long and others with the road department think this is a great idea.
They hope that the vandalism they deal with will disappear if the ordinance passes.
Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said they need something to deter people from destroying their park.
He said he wants to protect the nearly $50,000 investment the city and its people made for the Christmas display.
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