MILTON — Even with the serene atmosphere and peaceful feeling you get from walking along the Blackwater River from its dock, Milton's downtown Riverwalk is not exempt from being vandalized.
According to city of Milton Public Information Officer Pamela Holt, the city discovered $3,500 worth of damage to the newly installed lighting equipment on Riverwalk Park in Milton on June 4. Holt said 14 light fixtures were ripped from the railings along with 200 feet of wiring. The new lighting project was the final part of the improvement project to the city's festival area on Willing Street and was scheduled to be completed the last week in June, Holt said.
"New surveillance cameras are to be installed immediately along Riverwalk Park to deter any future acts of vandalism," Holt said.
While the project was still on schedule at the time of the incident, according to Public Works Director Joe Cook, the vandalism could cause possible delays to the project.
City Manager Randy Jorgenson said the act of vandalism was not just against the city but toward the community as a whole.
"The residents of the city are actively investing in their community, working to make an aesthetically pleasing environment to improve our quality of life," Jorgenson said. "To allow a few to do harm at the cost of the many is a shameful act.”
Milton City Police Chief Tony Tindell said the police force was not taking the incident lightly and would be working diligently to find the culprit and prevent it from happening again.
"We are providing diligent efforts with proactive patrolling," Tindell said.
Tindell said he was personally sad to have this happen to the city as it had spent several months to beautify the area for the benefit of the community. He said the city spent over $50,000 on the lighting project.
The city is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s). If you have any information about this case, contact the Milton Police Department at 850-983-5420 or call Crime Stoppers at 850-437-STOP.