Vandals again set sights on memorial playground at Madison County Fairgrounds – Local women look to hold fundraising event for repairs

Once again vandals have damaged the Aubrey Broksle Memorial Playground at the Madison County Fairgrounds.

Recently, vandals broke the back out of a play house on the playground and destroyed some of the plastic playground pieces, said Dana Escott, Madison County Fairgrounds manager.

Vandalism at the playground and the fairgrounds seems to always be a problem, Escott said.

“I think it’s been bad forever, but it just seems to get worse,” she said.

Vandals have repeatedly vandalized the playground at the Madison County Fairgrounds in Twin Bridges. Madison County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals and a “Women to Women” home business expo is being held to raise money to fix the playground. Photo by Gail Banks

Unlike most other county fairgrounds, Madison County’s facility in Twin Bridges is generally open. Particularly the playground, which was built in memory of Aubrey Broksle, who passed away nearly 15 years ago.

Much of the equipment vandalized can’t be fixed, said Madison County Sheriff’s deputy Dan Birdsill.

“All that stuff was bought through donations on (Aubrey’s) behalf,” Birdsill said. “It’s stuff that can’t be repaired and will probably have to be replaced.”

During the past few years the vandalism to the playground has seemed to be both malicious and disturbing, Escott said.

Recently, vandals turned over logs bordering the playground to expose steel spikes that held the logs in place. Last year someone emptied a trash bag full of broken glass in the playground.

“It’s sad that people want to do this,” she said. “I don’t know how to control it short of putting gates up.”

But sometimes gates don’t work. This past winter, Escott gated a part of the fairgrounds and a vandal used a vehicle to destroy the gates.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department is currently looking for any information about the vandalism. Anyone with information can call Madison County Crime Stoppers at 1-877-NOCRIME (1-877-662-7631). Information leading to the arrest of the vandals could result in a $1,000 reward. Callers can remain anonymous.

Birdsill suspects that it’s been more than one person causing the damage.

“I think we’re getting a couple of different individuals coming in there with nothing better to do than see how much they can tear up,” he said.

But in the face of the vandalism, people in the community are still hoping that a safe and pleasant playground can be rebuilt for the kids in the community.

When Jennie Derby and June Pack heard about the vandalism they decided to hold an event to raise money to rebuild the playground before the Madison County Fair in August.

The event called “Women to Women” will bring in-home businesswomen together, Pack said.

The event will be held at the fairgrounds June 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Booth rental for the event will be $20 and all proceeds will go toward repairing Aubrey Broksle Memorial Playground.

“It was created in memory of her and so it was sad to me to find out it had been so severely vandalized that the fair manager had to close it for a little while,” Pack said.

To sign up for the event, contact Pack at 925-2317 or Derby at 842-7846. Donations for the playground are also welcomed at the event.

Gail Banks contributed to this article

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