The skateboarding area at Veterans Park in Fox Lake has been closed and the equipment removed until spring because of extensive damage caused by vandals, village officials said Monday.
Village parks and recreation coordinator Amy Serafin said the messages and spray paint discovered Friday morning on the Adeline Geo-Karis Skate Park at 301 S. Route 59 were so bad it would have been impossible to clean the facilities before the graffiti could be seen by residents.
Village leaders elected to take down the equipment to have it cleaned and repaired, Serafin said. The hope is the equipment will be ready to be reinstalled in spring 2014, she said.
"There was no way to leave the equipment in place and fix it in a timely manner," she said. "Everything was vandalized, and all of it was completely inappropriate to leave up to let people see it."
She said the skate park was paid for with a $100,000 grant from late-state Sen. Adeline Geo-Karis. It features nine pieces of equipment, including a rail-quarter pipe, launch boxes, and a half-pipe.
If the equipment that was vandalized isn't able to be repaired, it will cost about $80,000 to replace, Serafin said.
"It was a sad day at the park when we saw it," she said. "That park is always busy, so the saddest part was watching the confused kids when we were pulling out the equipment. We had to explain to them that we have to take it away to fix it in order to bring it back."
Police Chief Mike Behan said an investigation is under way to catch the vandals.
"There wasn't a piece of equipment that didn't have some sort or vandalism or graffiti on it," Behan said. "It really is a great place for the kids in the area to enjoy, and almost all of them do enjoy it. But, now, one or two kids messed it up for everybody."
He said anyone with additional information about the skate park vandalism or anyone who observes vandalism or suspicious activity is encouraged to call the Fox Lake Police Department at (847) 587-3100.