WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Local leaders are fed up with a string of vandalism in Wellsville, much of it centered around the village’s marina.
According to Mayor Bob Boley, it’s one thing after another.
“They’re running over our stop signs, our street signs, and it’s gotta be done by four-wheel drive trucks,” Boley said.
Two metal buoys at the marina that were donated years ago were also run over. The village administrator welded them and used concrete to put them back into the ground.
“Within a month, they went over one of them on the far side and ran it over as well,” Boley said.
“We are not a rich community by any means, and any time anything is vandalized, that means money we could’ve spent on other community improvements,” said Council member Karen Dash.
Boley said that includes streets that need to be repaved.
“We got a lot of potholes in town, like many other area towns do, or new signs that we do need. It’s taking that money away because we have to go purchase new ones for the ones that have been taken down,” he said.
Boley said the swings at their local playground have also been cut and benches stomped on. A globe from the light on the boardwalk by the marina was also stolen.
“I’ve asked citizens if they see this, please come forward. I even offered a reward, and their name will never be revealed. We have to stop it,” Boley said.
A curfew has been in place for the last two weeks in an attempt to get the vandals off the streets. Those under 17 must be home by 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Local leaders are working to revitalize the marina and approached the USDA for help. They met Tuesday to discuss what it would take.
The first step is dredging the marina. It’s currently full of silt and soil and stopped operating around 10 years ago. It’s estimated that’ll cost the village $1.2 million.
Leaders agreed it would take a combination of state, federal and local funding but would be worth it because the marina is a recreational asset and an economic driver, brining more people to restaurants and stores.
“Obviously, the Ohio River is a busy river. There’s a big water intake right beside the river, so we need to figure out some of those challenges. I think the energy and the enthusiasm is there. There are a lot of great stakeholders from the community, from the county,” said Jonathan McCracken, state director of USDA Rural Development.
McCracken says these stakeholders know what the marina has meant to the community in the past, and see a vision for it in the future.
The group will reconvene next month and come up with a plan on how the USDA can help the village.