Winter Park

Major vandalism occurred at bathrooms during the weekend at Winter and Garfield parks in Danville. The damage mirrors what children are doing on TikTok, the video-sharing app, challenges.

DANVILLE — A TikTok video sharing app challenge encouraging youth to vandalize bathrooms in schools has impacted two city parks in Danville.

Danville Public Works Director Carl Carpenter told the Danville City Council’s Public Works Committee Tuesday night that the bathrooms at Garfield Park and Winter Park near the AMBUCS Playground for Everyone were severely damaged during the weekend.

Carpenter said of Garfield Park, someone stuck a metal can in the bathroom, probably stuffing it with toilet paper and other objects and just burned it.

The city will have to call another company to clean it, and they’ll have to paint and repair it.

At Winter Park, it was a little more disturbing, Carpenter said.

He said his granddaughter showed him the TikTok challenge and images were identical of busted toilet seats, kicked in doors and amenities ripped off the wall in the park bathroom.

The damage was done between a 3 p.m. city employee check and 7 p.m. when the bathroom was locked for the night.

“This is just the most disgusting, unacceptable thing,” Carpenter said. “This is worse than putting graffiti on the wall. We can paint over graffiti. This is actual damage that is going to cost every taxpayer in this city a considerable amount of money if it doesn’t stop soon.”

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. encourages anyone with information or who hears someone bragging about this to call the police department.

No video camera footage was available.

“It was just a very unfortunate thing,” Carpenter said.

Minor vandalism in past years where toilets were only flooded, was a lot easier to take care of, he added.

City officials will start locking the park bathrooms at 3 p.m. instead of at 6 p.m.

Ward 4 Alderman Mike O’Kane said other towns are looking at video cameras getting license plates of where people are going.

“Do you want to take rights away from people or do you want to protect things?” O’Kane asked, adding that he doesn’t like the idea of invading on people’s rights.

Danville Police Chief Chris Yates will be bringing something along those lines to the city council’s Public Services Committee later this month, Williams said.

The committee also continued residency requirement discussions. The full city council next week will vote on extending non-union city employee residency requirements from a five-mile radius outside Danville city limits, to 45 miles.

Williams said they looked at 45 miles so employees can get to work or emergencies in an hour.

Corp. Counsel James Simon said he was happy to move here, saying he feels more of a sense of community living here.

“I’m glad I’m here,” Simon said.

He said his legal assistant is a city employee who lives in Longview in Champaign County, in a house that was her mother’s.

O’Kane said maybe the city should think about the opposite, in giving incentives to live here, like stipends or other things.

Other cities have no residency requirements, a requirement to live in the county or 20-50 mile radiuses.

City police, fire, engineering and public works officials support the 45-mile radius to increase the pool of city employee applicants.

“I don’t love this, but I do think it’s best for the city,” Williams said.

He said he’s heard reasons for why some people don’t want to live here are concerns about: public safety, quality of life and things to do, schools, and blight and infrastructure issues.

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