Brooklyn Park community's new sign, just finished, smashed by vandals NORTH COUNTY -- Linthicum * Ferndale * Brooklyn Park * Pumphrey

December 03, 1992|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

By day's end Tuesday, masons had finished building red brick entrance signs at Sunnyfield Estates in Brooklyn Park, one at each end of the development's single, U-shaped street.

All that remained to be done was the lettering.

But by yesterday morning, vandals had torn parts of the new signs down, toppling cement pillars and ramming bricks out of alignment.

Residents could only wonder why anyone would want to destroy the signs -- for which the community of 113 single-family homes paid $4,678.

"It's just a shame that something like this was done," said Dan Ditzel, president of the Sunnyfield Estates Homeowners Association. "I couldn't begin to tell you why someone would do this. I have no idea."

For more than a year, residents had planned to replace fading wooden signs with classier-looking brick ones, he said.

Now that county beautification grants are all but unheard of, the residents must pay for improvements themselves. The association pays for landscaping and other projects with money collected through annual fees -- $42.08 per household -- and bingo and dance fund-raisers.

Mr. Ditzel and Jerry Stanley, the group's treasurer, had spent countless hours designing the arched, 13-foot by 5-foot signs on a computer, winning community approval, hiring a contractor and choosing a company to create the lettering, which is still scheduled to be attached in two weeks.

"It's not necessarily the cost, it's just the idea," Mr. Stanley said of the vandalism. "This isn't our sign, it's the community's. But Dan and I put a lot of time into it. I take it personally."

Added Mr. Ditzel, "We wanted something permanent to beautify the community. You try to do something good, then you wake up to this."

He noticed the toppled pillars when he left for work at 5:30 a.m., but thought at first the contractor hadn't finished the job. He found out later the contractor, Charm City Masonry, had, indeed, finished Tuesday.

"For someone to come in and blatantly destroy property, it was pretty disheartening to come out and see," Mr. Ditzel said.

An insurance claims adjuster surveyed the damage yesterday, estimating a repair job of up to $600.

The two residents speculated that more than one person damaged the signs, since it originally had taken three men to place 400-pound concrete pillars atop brick posts. Yesterday, the post tops lay in the dirt next to the signs.

They also guessed that vandals had used a 6-by-6-inch wooden post, attached to the old wooden signs, to ram the back of one of the brick signs, causing it to buckle.

The association plans to offer a $250 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of the vandals.

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