“Heartbreaking”

Major damage done to Werner Park Friday night

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Some of the damage at Werner Park. Photo courtesy Werner Park Facebook page.

RUSSELL, Pa. – Pennsylvania State Police and park caretakers are hoping to locate the vandal or vandals who caused extensive damage to the grounds and structures at Werner Park in Russell overnight Friday.

People who came to walk their dogs discovered the damage on Saturday morning and alerted Mike English, one of the park’s caretakers, who contacted PSP-Warren.

“It’s just horrible for us, heartbreaking,” English said. “We’re all volunteers, we don’t get paid (to take care of the park). It’s so disheartening, saddening, then anger comes into it.”

Photo courtesy Werner Park Facebook page.

Officials believe the damage was most likely caused by a utility side-by-side due to the extent of the damage and pieces of the vehicle left behind.

“They broke the two 4x4s holding the signpost up,” English said. “That was built by Murray Peterson and donated. The flower bed under it was completely crushed and destroyed. There will be damage to the side-by-side, and it’s missing a mirror.”

Photo courtesy Werner Park Facebook page.

The monetary cost to repair the damages will be high, but the physical toll may be higher. Werner Park is owned by the Russell Volunteer Fire Department and maintained entirely by volunteers, the youngest of which is 65.

“We could’ve just stood there and cried,” English said. “The massive hours this committee puts in . . . I don’t know who they are, and if I do know them, shame on them. If they have to do community service (as a result of the damages), I want them to do it at Werner Park with me.”

English said a reward is being offered for information that leads to a conviction. Anyone with information is asked to contact PSP-Warren at 814-728-3600.