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‘People don’t respect the park’: Vandalism at Veterans Memorial Park prompts outcry in Las Cruces

Following multiple acts of vandalism at Veterans Memorial Park, Las Cruces might place protections on the public site.

“People don’t respect the park,” said Rod Gajewski, a Vietnam veteran who survived prostate cancer after exposure to Agent Orange.

In May 2018, police arrested teenagers in connection with stealing letters from the Vietnam Memorial and damaging the Huey helicopter that overlooks the memorial.

“Those are all monuments that have a degree of sacredness to all of us,” Gajewski said.

This past summer, he told councilors that a group spray painted parts of the sidewalk and grass while directing participants in a run.

“As far as defacing city property… if they are not willing to make it right, I have no problem in coming up with a resolution in banning them,” said Mayor Ken Miyagishima.

It might be a public park, but councilors acknowledged the importance of preserving the space that displays the monuments.

“The vandalism really, really bothers me a lot,” said Councilwoman Yvonne Flores, who represents district six.

KVIA 2019



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