Carol Stream park vandalism could be sabotage

CAROL STREAM, Ill. (WLS) -- Security is being tightened at a park in suburban Carol Stream that has been hit by vandals.

A multi-million dollar project is underway to reduce flooding at Armstrong Park. Now, one official suggests the vandalism might be an attempt to sabotage the project.

Klein Creek is normally quite docile, but it does flood which in turn causes problems for nearby homeowners in Carol Stream. To lessen the aggravation, Armstrong Park is undergoing a transformation.

Two retention ponds are being built to alleviate some of the flooding problems; one small, the other a large bowl will soon collect flood water from neighboring Klein creek. It's a $12 million project that someone may be trying to sabotage.

"Somebody doesn't like the project," says Jim Zay, DuPage County Board Stormwater Chairman. "I don't know why they'd do that since it's only gonna hurt the neighborhood."

Beginning several months ago, construction workers would arrive on site to find damage to their equipment. Windshields and headlamps on trucks were shattered, controlled panels were jimmied and portable toilets were upended.

Initially, project coordinators and investigators though the tipped porta-potties and the broken windshields were the work of young vandals, but it quickly became evident that there was more to it than that.

More recently, two young trees, tree balls and all, were unearthed and stuffed with half a dozen bushes well inside the 60-inch outlet pipe. There was an attempt to break into the pump house with its expensive gear inside.

"Where then outlet pipe is we have cement blocks that dissipate energy as water comes out," Zay says. "Someone's tried to damage those by knocking them out, so it's not just one little vandalism. It's multiple things and that's not good."

"I don't understand who would want to do that," says Elizabeth Keeton, who lives in the neighborhood. "It doesn't make any sense to me, at least in this suburb."

"It does affect everyone in this community," says Michael Keeton. "You'd have to be a special type of stupid to live in this community and not want that to work."

Not everyone living around the larger retention pond is happy looking at a big berm, but the project was largely endorsed by flood weary neighbors. New security has been added along with more police patrols. The project is on target for completion in August.
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