ROUSES POINT - The Samuel de Champlain Center Stage has sustained damaged in recent months, and it's a matter one village resident is not taking lightly.
Steve Merchant, one of the people behind the fundraising effort last year to build the stage, addressed the village board of trustees during the board's regular meeting April 18. Merchant brought to the board's attention damage to two rear doors for the stage and electrical outlet covers, among other cosmetic damage such as cigarette burns in the siding and bicycle tire track marks on the stage's handicap ramp.
"That's unacceptable," Merchant said of the damage. "The people here in Rouses Point like this stage. If that's a sign of what we're going to have to put up with each time we want to do something nice for the community, it's pretty sad."
Merchant said his disgust was not only in the acts of vandalism, but in the manner the situation was being handled by the village.
"I haven't heard of anybody being arrested," said Merchant. "You've had benches busted, all sorts of things done down there and it's been going on ... One month after that stage was put up, [cigarettes were] burned in the siding down there. Now, there's no reason."
Surveillance cameras posted around the stage on the Rouses Point Civic Center grounds should have captured the person or persons responsible for the damage, said Merchant, who again asked why nothing has been done to resolve the matter.
"The reason why nothing has been done is because the cameras record only one month," said Mayor George A. Rivers. "We went through it today for the second time."
A review of the tapes resulted in no perpetrators caught on video, leading Rivers to believe the damages was done "sometime a month or two ago."
Merchant said "there was no excuse" the tapes couldn't have been reviewed on a more regular basis beforehand, which he feels would have potentially led to an arrest in the case.
"That problem's going to be addressed," responded Rivers. "[Village employees are] going to look at it daily."
"We put a lot of money into that stage and a lot of work, to get it where it is," said Merchant.
Village Trustee Dennis F. Roberts acknowledged the efforts Merchant and others put into raising money for the stage, which was made property of the village once constructed.
"Maybe we have to have personnel canvas the grounds once a week or on some kind of frequency to see if there's any damage," Roberts suggested. "That way, when they identify there is damage, we then can go back to the tape ... The community stage is a huge asset to the village and we need to try to protect it."
The damage done to the stage is something the board said might not be enough worth filing an insurance claim to repair and, instead, would possibly pay out of pocket to cover. No estimates were given as to the cost of repairs.
Anyone with information regarding the damage may contact village police at 297-7231.