CAMPBELL COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - Officials in Newport believe people are purposely destroying trees, and they’re asking whoever is responsible to stop.
They believe the vandalism is happening at Buena Vista Park.
At first, community leaders say they thought the latest vandalism could have been caused by an animal, but commissioner Ken Rechtin says there is video footage that proves vandals are responsible.
“Our public works department did have a camera in place and has an excellent video of two folks - one appears to be a juvenile, the other appears to be an adult - using a knife and physically stripping the bark from this tree," Rechtin said.
That kind of damage can kill a tree, Rechtin adds.
Volunteers planted hundreds of the trees around the community. He says they work as an urban canopy.
“The softness that the trees bring to traffic noise and those types of things is immense, so removal of those things just hurts us terribly," Rechtin said.
Rechtin is encouraging people who live in the area to do their part in protecting the parks and the environment.
“Instead of a block watch, we would have a park watch, and those folks that are in close proximity there would have a meeting together with our PD, and Chris Fangman is very open to this, our chief, and outline some behaviors that are appropriate behaviors in the park and non-appropriate behaviors in the park and begin watching," Rechtin said.
Once those involved are identified, Rechtin says the city will be going for criminal charges. He hopes to send a message that destroying parks is not acceptable.
Rechtin said he knows there are bigger issues at play right now, like the coronavirus pandemic, so he is encouraging people to be safe.
He is also asking anyone with information to come forward and report it to Newport police.