Vandals Stealing From Tuscaloosa All-Inclusive Playground
Tuscaloosa's newest All-Inclusive Playground inside Sokol Park has become the victim of vandalism. According to a spokesperson from the Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Authority, multiple decorative butterflies have been stolen from around the park's fenceline.
Each butterfly represents either an individual or organization that has donated a certain amount of money to the playground. The playground is a collaboration between The PARA Foundation, Nick's Kids Foundation, and the Cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport, among other organizations.
As of its grand opening in late April, almost $2 million had been raised in pledges and donations for the park. The playground is designed to accommodate children of all ages and abilities, with amenities including a wheelchair-friendly swing and a soft rubber turf.
According to a Monday Facebook post, since the playground opened in late April, 7 butterflies have been stolen. According to Caroline Lasseter, Director of Development for the PARA Foundation, they first noticed the butterflies were missing on Sunday when a donor took their grandchild to the playground to find the one with their name.
Additionally, the xylophone attraction had been damaged.
"We are disappointed that it happened both for the playground and for the community, specifically the special children that the playground was designed to serve," Lasseter said.
Lasseter told The Thread that they intend to complete a formal investigation and conduct an assessment on how to provide the best security measures for the park. As of publishing, no leads on suspects or motives for the crime have been determined.
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