Lindsay Park fire
Police say three juveniles questioned
By Holly Neumann
Manawa firefighters responded to a fire inside a bathroom at Lindsay Park at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24.
Manawa Police Chief James Gorman said three juveniles have been questioned.
“We received three confessions for the wrongdoings,” Gorman said.
Gorman declined to discuss the fire any further and the fire damage remains undetermined.
“I feel that all of the vandalism that has been occurring over the past several years in the city of Manawa and surrounding communities is it direct result of the lack of discipline that is no longer able to be imposed by parents, teachers, coaches or anyone else that used to have that type of influence over young people,” Manawa Mayor John Smith said. “I think it’s more than disrespectful, it’s disgraceful.”
He believes that this is happening because young people are not actively involved in the school district with extracurricular activities or anything to do with just outdoor activities to begin with.
“I believe these young people are bored and don’t have any other positive influences in order to detract them from this type of behavior,” Smith said.
This is the third fire attempt this year and the second one in 11 days.
“First and foremost I believe that in any situation like this there should be community service performed out in the public eye and there should be an explanation of why the public service is taking place,” said Smith. “I don’t feel as though restitution is always the answer although it is very much needed because the cost to the city taxpayers is so great when it comes to cleaning up these messes, repainting the bathrooms, putting up more and more cameras to monitor the city.”
Smith himself is willing to oversee any community service that would be imposed by a judge.
One of the other attempts happened at the Manawa Area Veteran Freedom Park shelter house.
“I have a firm belief that anybody who destroys anything in a veterans park should be sent to some sort of military training,” said Smith. “I don’t care if it is a weekend or three weekends but they should be put through some of what our soldiers go through and some of the sacrifices so that we may live the life that we do in a free country. I believe we have always been too lenient on the people who destroy private or public property and it’s time to make it known that we are not going to tolerate it in Manawa or any other community.”
Smith is angry over this situation.
“I have always been an advocate for no fences or gates in public places or parks but, actions like this are the reason that we lock our parks and bathrooms are locked so that the general public cannot have access to them,” he said. “Cameras have to be hung so that we can monitor all the activity within the city.”
In his opinion, the fire at Lindsay Park has no connection to the homecoming festivities.
“The fact that kids toilet paper has been going on for decades and never led to starting fires,” said Smith. “The fact that the school has a bonfire now has nothing to do with children’s starting fires. Homecoming activities have never been against the law or local ordinances, including toilet paper. However, arson has always been against the law.”