MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) — Vandalism has been a recurring issue at parks around Manatee County, according to officials. There have been two incidents in the last week, which have caused damages of around $10,000.

Last week, Creekwood Park in Bradenton was left a mess by vandals. Parks and Grounds Operation Manager David Shurmur said the vandals destroyed bathrooms, knocked down all of the partitions, tore through the grass, knocked down the fence surrounding the dog park, and knocked over trashcans which were fixed to the ground.

County crews quickly got to work to make repairs before the holiday weekend. The only thing left to fix is the men’s restroom.

Over the holiday weekend, another nearby park was vandalized. Shurmur said someone set a trashcan on fire at Braden River Park. The flames torched through a new shade structure next to one of the baseball fields. The fire also damaged the bleachers which will need to be replaced.

The operation manager said vandalism at local parks is a constant issue for county staff.

“It’s a huge problem. We probably have one or two incidents every weekend throughout the county here or there — some smaller, some bigger like this, but it is a regular thing we have to deal with on a regular basis,” Shurmur said. “I would say over a year, it probably costs over $100,000 to repair everything.”

Taxpayers are footing the bill to make those repairs and covering the cost of manpower.

“It is sad. I mean, I have children and we want to be able to enjoy the parks,” said mother Stefanie Larsen. “My son does tee ball, so if my parks looked like that, it would probably be super frustrating because I think it makes the kids sad also to see that and they wonder why somebody would do something like that.”

The county has two initiatives in the works which they hope will reduce the amount of vandalism at their local parks. They’re hiring 14 “park attendants” and implementing a “311” sign campaign.

“Regularly, our staff leaves around 3:30 p.m. and the parks are open for the rest of the day. We are going to have park attendants that work seven days a week who are on site from 2 p.m. to 10 PM when the park is getting most of its use in the evening. They will be kind of monitoring and just having a staff presence,” Shurmur said.

The 311 signs posted around the parks aim to give residents an easy way to get in touch with county officials if they have questions or concerns.

Four park attendants are on the county’s staff so far. Shurmur said the remaining team will be on board by the middle of this month.