Vandals have again destroyed beautification projects in downtown Ticonderoga. Flower boxes on the Montcalm Street bridge have been ruined for the second time in the past three years.
Vandals have again destroyed beautification projects in downtown Ticonderoga.
Flower boxes on the Montcalm Street bridge have been ruined for the second time in the past three years.
“I’m disappointed that someone does not value our historic downtown, nor appreciate beautification efforts, and feels they should participate in senseless vandalism,” said Joyce Cooper, a volunteer who helped with the flower project. “It makes me angry that a small few can destroy the efforts of others who love and want to beautify our town.”
The estimated cost of the damage is about $1,000, according to Cooper.
“The last time the boxes wear ripped off the bridge and thrown off the bridge into the LaChute (River),” Cooper said. “They were rebuilt by Kiwanis last year and filled with money received from the person who did the vandalism. This year the boxes could not be removed so the vandals slowly removed the contents of liner boxes and even the filled liners themselves. Last night (June 25) the remaining liners were removed and tossed in the LaChute. There went the $500 of materials to rebuild the boxes, almost $400 in flowers and at least 16 liners at $10 each.”
Francine Burke, owner of The Country Florist, said the flower boxes will be repaired and replanted before the town’s July 4th celebration.
“I think it’s important that we make an effort to beautify our community,” Burke said. “You go to other towns and they all look gorgeous. There’s no reason Ti shouldn’t, too.”
“I agree we should (repair and replant) even though were talking about $500-plus in expenses,” Cooper said. “We’re fighting mad and feel not replacing them allows the vandals to win.”
This time, though, beautification volunteers will be more proactive in defending their efforts.
Burke is collecting money from downtown merchants for a reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals. She has also mounted a camera on her business that will monitor activity near the flower boxes on the Montcalm Street bridge.
“They (vandals) may have gotten away with it this time, but not next time,” Burke said. “We want to catch these people.”
Mark Johns, Ticonderoga police chief, said his officers are investigating.
“The Ti Police Department has prioritized this investigation,” Johns said. “Anyone with information is asked to call us at 585-2205. We’re pursuing several positive leads and are optimistic this case can be closed with an arrest.”
Johns said surveillance cameras in the area recorded the crime. He said two individuals walked from Schuyler Street to the bridge at 4:57 a.m. June 25 and destroyed the flowers before returning to Schuyler Street.
The chief declined to provide more information, but said the surveillance tapes are key to the investigation.
Cooper wants to see the criminals caught and punished. She hopes residents will join in the fight against vandalism.
“We want to get the word out about the vandalism in our downtown area and ask people to be watchful as they travel through downtown, especially late in the day or in the evening,” Copper said. “I am sure many people are not aware of some of the recent problems downtown — vandalism, robberies and break-ins. I would like to see the names of these offenders placed in the newspaper.”
While Cooper and Burke admit to being frustrated and disappointed with the vandalism, they promise to continue working to improve the downtown area. Copper noted the Ticonderoga Montcalm Street Partnership design committee, which she chairs, is now working to restore the lights on Liberty Monument and have plans to repair lights at Bicentennial Falls, which were destroyed by vandals.
“It is more disappointing than frustrating,” Cooper said of the vandalism. “However, I and many others in TMSP and Kiwanis will continue to be part of any effort which works on projects for the greater good of our citizens and town.”
Ticonderoga Supervisor Deb Malaney said local officials will continue to fight vandalism.
“The recent vandalism of the bridge flowers is very discouraging,” Malaney said. “It’s difficult to prevent all mischief and vandalism, obviously the police can’t be everywhere at once. However, the new video camera system has helped solve many issues since its installation and there’s a good chance it will help this time, as well.
“For a variety of reasons, vandalism is problematic in many communities and Ti is working on both short and long term strategies to reduce the problem,” she continued. “Our police are determined to get to the bottom of this, and I’m sure they will. People can help by reporting activity or call the anonymous TIPS hotline at 585-3080.”