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Menahga battles vandalism at city beach

For at least six years, the city has dealt with malicious damage to the city beach house on Spirit Lake.

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Persistent vandalism at Menahga's beach house on Spirit Lake has forced the city council to purchase additional cameras in order to identify the perpetrators.
Shannon Geisen / Park Rapids Enterprise
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Human feces shoved into the urinal with toilet paper.

Paper towel dispensers ripped off the wall and towels strewn all over the floor.

“We’ve had so much vandalism at the bathrooms at the beach,” recounted Interim City Administrator Betty Thomsen at the Monday, Aug. 8 city council meeting. “They wrecked the baby changing station.” That alone cost nearly $200 to replace.

For at least six years, the city has dealt with malicious damage to the city beach house on Spirit Lake.

“As a preventative measure, we have the police now locking it at 10 o’clock at night,” Thomsen continued.

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Thomsen said city staff initially considered repositioning one of the existing cameras at the beach. Unfortunately, it won’t focus on the beach house entrances, she explained.

West Central Telephone Association (WCTA) provided two quotes for an upgraded outdoor camera. One costs $735, the other $2,425.

The Menahga City Council opted for the more expensive dome camera. It will capture anyone directly entering or exiting the bathrooms.

Public Works Director Ron Yliniemi said, “It’s going to catch whoever is underneath that pavilion also.”

“It’s a one-time investment,” said council member Durwin Tomperi. “If you catch them in the act, you can go after that perpetrator.”“Nobody should have to clean up,” Thomsen said.

In addition, one camera will be placed above the cash drawer at city hall, per the internal auditor’s recommendation. The council accepted WCTA’s quote of $565.

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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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