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Vandalized Park Pavilion Should Have Had Security Cameras

Security cameras might be the next addition to the Chinese pavilion on Ruston Way, delaying the waterfront park’s opening by at least two months.

Crews spent nine months assembling and painstakingly decorating the 20-foot wooden structure, the centerpiece of Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Park and a gift from sister city Fuzhou, China.

Now, more work must be done because someone apparently stood on the pavilion’s benches and tried to do pull-ups from extensions on two of its decorative corners.

One lattice was torn off. Another was mostly destroyed and left dangling from the traditional southern Chinese-style structure – the first of its kind in Pierce County.

“This is the first time we’ve had some serious vandalism, and we’re taking it seriously,” said Lihuang Wung, the city’s project manager.

The site engineer noticed the damage May 18 and filed a police report. No one has been arrested, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.

The cost of repairs isn’t yet known. A contractor is expected to inspect the damage this month.

Officials said the wooden pieces that were destroyed must be replicated, nailed in place and repainted with the same special paint that coats the pavilion. Work could be completed in four days.

The two-month delay in opening the pavilion would come from possible installation of security cameras, which city staff members are looking into.

Engineers have spoken with employees of the city’s solid waste department because they have experience installing cameras to monitor illegal dumping.

The analysis will include how many cameras should be used, where they should be placed and a cost estimate to install and continuously operate the cameras.

The city wants the cameras to have recording capabilities so police could look at footage if vandals strike again.

It’s unclear how much the cameras will cost or where the money will come from.

“If we have to do it, we have to rob Peter to pay Paul,” Wung said, meaning the funds will need to be taken from another city project.

The pavilion – called a “ting” in Mandarin – already has run over budget. Though the structure was a gift, the city has contributed about $600,000 to it.

The City Council in February approved an additional $250,000 for unforeseen contractor fees.

It could take up to two months to complete the security camera analysis, and the pavilion will be off-limits until cameras are in place. People are welcome in other areas of the 3.9-acre park.

This isn’t the first delay in letting the public get close to the pavilion. The opening initially was scheduled for April, but it was pushed back because of bad weather and the time needed to do the work.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653 stacia.glenn@thenewstribune.com

Read more: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2011/06/20/1712941/vandals-delay-park-pavilion-opening.html#ixzz1PoyMW7En

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