Police are looking for person or people who cut down a total of 26 trees in Memorial Park within the past week.
Police said sometime last week, someone cut down six small trees that were planted along a curb on the Union Boulevard side of the park. Then, sometime between 5 p.m. Sunday and 6:30 a.m. Monday, the suspect returned and cut down the remaining 20 trees.
City parks officials believe the vandal used a pruning saw, so they believe someone knew what they were doing.
“It’s shocking, it’s disturbing, and it feels pointless,” Aubrey Sathre, who lives in Colorado Springs, said.
“I think it’s very unfortunate and really sad,” Lara Tongue, who was visiting the park Monday, said. “We can’t enjoy that because someone destroyed it. It’s too bad.”
Dennis Will, interim city forester for Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, said they are used to vandalism at city parks.
“Unfortunately we don’t pay that much attention to it because it happens all the time,” he said. “I can’t speculate. It could be anything. But it does escalate the concern for us.”
Will said these trees were a big investment from the city budget using taxpayer dollars.
“The time for somebody to select the proper trees, go to the nursery, check them out, inspect them, make sure they are good stock, haul them to the site, plant them, pay for the trees,” Will said.
The parks department estimated the value of the trees at $13,000, plus cleanup, which could total about $15,000.
“It’s the only infrastructure that increases in value over time,” Willi said. “That’s what makes trees so cool, in my book, is that they are not just trees. They are much more than that.”
Locals think so too.
“There is so much potential in this area,” Colorado Springs resident Nate Sathre said. “In order for this area to really become all that it can be, the city is going to have to invest money in this area. I imagine it’s got to be pretty frustrating to the people who make those decisions to see money go down the drain like that.”
Now, Colorado Springs police are investigating.
“We really want to try to find out who did this and see if we can put a stop to it,” Will said.
“It sounds like there was intent on vandalism specifically,” Aubrey Sathre said. “You have to wonder about the heart of a person that’s going about doing something like that.”
Police said if found, the suspect would face criminal mischief charges, and because of the high dollar amount of the damage, it would be a felony.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 719-444-7000.