Family member ‘heartbroken’ after news of Filmore Thomas Park vandalism
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A year and a half and $1.7 million later, the park honoring a man known for his local activism has fallen victim to vandalism.
“It’s all of our park, it’s not just the filmore thomas family, it’s not just the bellevue community,” said Thomas’s grandson.
People who knew the late, great Bellevue community activist, Filmore Thomas, are disappointed to find out that someone else has tried to leave their own mark at the park named in his honor.
“It has affected the splash pad and the restrooms and a couple of other areas as a result,” said Parks and Rec Director Robert Walker.
Thomas’s grandson, Filmore Thomas III, says he was heartbroken when he heard what happened.
“You see kids get out of the car running toward the splash pad. They come over trying to get it to work and it won’t work so that in itself was very disappointed because we worked hard to get it in the community,” he told 41NBC.
According to Walker, the county has already paid around $1,500 to replace broken parts on the splash pad and irrigation system. But that doesn’t even include re-painting again from the most recent incident.
“We’re replacing the irrigation valves that have been taken out, we have to do some painting, we have to replace some valves for the splash pad and replace some nozzles,” Walker explained.
Now parks and recreation is working alongside Friends of Filmore Thomas Park members and the sheriff’s office to find solutions.
“We have put close to $2 million into this park and it was an amenity for this community. That was just something that shouldn’t have been done. We want to encourage people to take care of the park and take care of what we provided,” Walker added.
Friends of Filmore Park members say they’ve already met with law enforcement as well as parks and rec officials to discuss several solutions: installing more lighting, increasing patrol in the area at night, using a more secure structure to house the splash pad’s control panel, and even putting cameras in the park.
They’re currently raising money to pay for some of those upgrades. Walker says they’re not sure who did it or why but they believe it may have been kids looking for something to do. If you’re interested in donating, there’s a link here.