ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Vandalism at a newly upgraded race track at Kincaid Park has a local racing club looking at ways to keep trouble off the track.
The city of Anchorage and the Department of Transportation provided over $90,000 for the track upgrades. Jason Nunn, president of the local racing club, Anchorage Racing Lions, says he’s had serious problems with vandalism at the park. He wants to increase security before opening it up to the general public.
"People can pretty much come out here and do whatever they want," Nunn said. He estimates thousands of dollars in damages from theft, graffiti, arson, and other destruction to the park over the four years he’s worked there.
“It's bad out here," Nunn said. “We've had to keep the track closed to the general public just to keep people out. That's the unfortunate part. This is a public park. This is here for everybody."
Nunn says he’s been working to bring the issue to the attention of Anchorage Parks and Recreation, but they have limited resources.
"The biggest issue we've had with Parks and Rec is they just don't have the manpower to help us maintain this park, and keep it safe, and keep it regulated," Nunn said.
Parks and Rec Outdoor Recreation Superintendent Brad Cooke says vandalism has always been a big issue in all parks across the Anchorage Bowl. However, Kincaid does receive special attention from late-night destructive criminals.
“This one is a hotspot where we see a lot of after-hours use,” Cooke said.
Cooke says the best way to regulate the park is to have more residents speak up if they see anything out of the ordinary.
"It's a beautiful park. It's always sad to see anything negative happen in the park,” Cooke said. “But our biggest resource is our people of Anchorage."
Nunn has some ideas on how to curb the frequency of vandalism to the park, including: changing the time the park opens from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and setting up video security.
"We'll know who's coming in and out of the gate, and it's going to deter a lot of the people that come out here to cause trouble and vandalize things," Nunn said.
Cooke says Parks and Rec has taken steps to try and reduce vandalism at the race track. They've changed the hours so the park closes one hour earlier, and they have two people stationed at the park at all hours who report anything out of the ordinary.
While the track remains closed to the general public, Anchorage Lions Racing has a special permit and is still hosting races.
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