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Vandalism in East Aurora park spurs greater police presence

Majors Park, set in a remote area off Olean Road in the Town of Aurora and not well-known to many, is starting to see the presence of police on Segways.

The sprawling park, which features walking trails and is designed to be passive, was hit with a spate of vandalism earlier this week when a 400- to 500-pound concrete bench, picnic table and garbage can were dumped into Cazenovia Creek, which runs through the park.

"Holy cow, you should have seen the mess," Aurora Parks Director David Gunner said. "It's a beautiful area and a nice place for kids to go, but unfortunately when they do things like this, now the police have to patrol."

As a result, East Aurora police already have begun patrolling the park this week on the Segways, recently purchased for the department earlier this summer.

"We'll try to get more patrols out there. Majors Park has lots of trails," Police Chief Ron Krowka said. "We've also had reports of parties starting there last year."

Krowka said his department now has two Segways, on which the officers stand as they patrol the park. He said they were bought to help police gain access to certain trails they could not reach by car. Underage drinking parties and vandalism in bathrooms at Hamlin Park prompted their purchase.

Gunner said the vandalism was discovered by the town's art camp director when she arrived at the park Tuesday morning. It will likely cost the town $700 in repairs, he said.

Workers spent an hour retrieving the items from the creek.

Krowka said that in nearby Hamlin Park, in the heart of the village, police now check the park and lock the restrooms after closing time. Vandals had been ripping off metal items from the sinks.