St. Johns County launches ‘Enjoy, Don’t Destroy’ campaign to combat vandalism

The St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department is taking a stand against vandalism with the launch of the “Enjoy, Don’t Destroy” campaign.

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This initiative aims to safeguard the cleanliness and beauty of the county’s public resources while conserving taxpayer funds.

Vandalism has emerged as a significant concern, with 191 reported work orders for vandalism repairs at St. Johns County parks in the 2023 fiscal year, costing a total of $63,403.43.

Already in the 2024 fiscal year, 46 work orders have been reported, totaling $10,948.92. Over 30 police reports were filed for vandalism incidents in FY 23 alone. With nearly $75,000 spent on vandalism repairs in under two years, the issue has become both financially burdensome and a drain on law enforcement resources.

“St. Johns County residents visit our parks for a positive experience, and they expect high-quality facilities,” remarked Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Kane. “Nothing detracts more from the positive experience than to arrive at a site and find vandalism and destruction. Parkgoers should be able to expect great times in the parks, and they can assist SJC Parks and Recreation by reporting any damages to the department and any incidents they witness to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. We all deserve to have a great park system. Please, do your part and enjoy, don’t destroy.”

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The “Enjoy, Don’t Destroy” campaign will feature videos filmed at various County parks, showcasing residents who value these spaces and want to see them preserved for future generations.

These videos will encourage park visitors of all ages to take pride in their surroundings and report any instances of vandalism using the new SJC Connect app or by calling the non-emergency number for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at 904-824-8304.

St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick expressed his support for the campaign, stating, “The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is committed to partnering with Parks and Recreation staff on this campaign to deter vandalism at our County parks. I encourage our citizens to report acts of vandalism and help us preserve the park experience for our families and future generations.”

The official launch of the “Enjoy, Don’t Destroy” campaign will take place with a public kickoff event at Julington Creek Plantation Park, located at 3060 Racetrack Road, St. Johns, at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 5.

Director Kane, Sheriff Hardwick, and District 1 Commissioner Christian Whitehurst will deliver remarks.

The campaign will continue in the following months with the Parks Ambassador video series featured across the County’s social media platforms.

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