First the concession stand at Skinner Field in Cedar Springs was damaged by vandals. Then several days later someone broke into the locker rooms and smashed urinals, ripped down showers and burned an American flag they found folded on a shelf.
Shawn Kiphart, president of the non-profit Friends of Skinner Field, discovered the damaged locker room Sunday morning, March 25.
“Anything they could break,” he says walking through the scattered athletic equipment and broken porcelain. “They burned the American flag we keep in storage. It really is devastating, especially to think there seemed to be no rhyme or reason behind it other than destruction.”
No suspects are in custody, but deputies say it looks like the work of adolescents.
“It is consistent with what we might see from juveniles or kids,” says Sgt. Joel Roon of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. “It is quite disgusting.”
Skinner Field is where Cedar Springs High School teams used to play but now is home for a youth football league and other community activities and events.
It is supported by donations and run by volunteers who can’t help but wonder why someone would target the facility.
“This is something we all work for together,” says Cedar Springs Football League action president Eric Prins. “To have something like that it kind of breaks your heart.”
They aren’t sure, but volunteers who maintain the facility say it seems likely the same individuals are responsible for both crimes at Skinner Field.
People who want to help with repairs can donate through the Skinner Field GoFundMe page. And Kent County deputies investigating the vandalism are hoping someone will call Silent Observer with useful information or tips.
“Someone is upset about something and this is the avenue they are choosing to air their grievance,” suspects Sergeant Roon.
“I can’t imagine anyone who would do this or what their message would be,” says Kiphart. “It is not a good one.”
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.