Stolen trash can part of bigger problem in Youngstown parks

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Vandalism in Youngstown’s parks is at a 20-year high, which is costing the city money and keeping people from enjoying public property.

In a previous report, WKBN First News introduced viewers to Michelle Wade. She lives near the city park by the old Borts Pool on Belle Vista Avenue.

The problem was simple: No trash can. Wade had to clean up the mess before her 6-year-old daughter could play.

“It is pretty filthy. Every time I go, there is broken glass and trash,” Wade said last week. “She shouldn’t have to deal with that in a playground setting. It should be about having fun, not falling on glass.”

WKBN First News took her complaints to Youngstown Parks and Recreation Director Bob Burke, and he sent a crew to the park to install a new trash can that same day. But Burke said the missing trash can is part of a bigger problem.

“It is an ongoing problem even though they chain them to fences or stake them in the ground. People steal them for scrap or make grills out of them,” Burke said.

Burke said dozens of trash cans are stolen every year.

Youngstown City Maintenance Supervisor Jerry Gordon has worked in the parks department for 20 years. He said things have gotten a lot worse since he came on the job.

His crews spend every Monday and Friday dealing with vandalism. Gordon said change comes when residents take pride in their neighborhoods, and work together to report crime and vandalism.

“Look out for one another and just speak up,” said Gordon.

Reports of vandalism can be called in to the Youngstown Police Department at (330) 742-8900.

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