Copyright 2017 Spokane Spokesman-Review
Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)
Spokane Valley parks staff found the nest emptied once again: The two remaining large eggs have been stolen from the Discovery Playground near CenterPlace Regional Event Center.
It's not the first time the eggs have been stolen since the park opened in 2010.
A cream-colored fiberglass egg that was about 2 feet wide and 2 1/2 feet long was stolen in 2016, and never recovered.
This time the remaining two eggs that looked like they were left behind by a hatched bird were taken.
"We really need people's help," said Mike Stone, Spokane Valley Parks and Recreation Director. "We are fighting an uphill battle right now, and we are really trying to do something that's nice for the community."
A previous egg thief was busted because he posted "trophy" photos on Instagram, but Stone said he fears the eggs are gone for good.
"The whole egg combination was more than $8,000," Stone said. "We were working with a private donor and getting ready to replace the big egg, but we will not do that now."
The Discovery Playground is lit all night, Stone said, and there's a lot of traffic around it.
"It's hard to believe no one saw anything," Stone said.
Thieves would have to lift the eggs, which weigh several hundred pounds, over the chain link fence and haul them away on a truck.
Other playground equipment has been stolen over the years, including an inchworm that was big enough for children to ride on.
Stone said plant sculptures "were loved to death" and had to be removed.
A very large wooden Adirondack chair has been taken down, but will be replaced with a similar chair built out of composite material.
Stone said there are no plans to replace the eggs.
"We will be looking for something that will hold up better," Stone said.
At Browns Park, where sand volleyball courses were recently built, Stone said the parks department has hired private security to crack down on a group of "15 to 20 young people" who've been hanging out at the park every day, sometimes drinking and smoking.
Permanent bathrooms had to be locked because fixtures were destroyed, and there's been a lot of graffiti, including Sunday morning.
"The paint was still wet when it was discovered," Stone said.
Two flood lights have just been added to Browns Park and Stone has a budget request in for perimeter lights and a path for next year's budget.
"We want to turn Browns Park into something that's more family friendly," Stone said. "Large groups of people hanging out is a deterrent to some families."
Stone said he's certain vandalism isn't unique to Spokane Valley, and he encouraged people to call authorities if they see something wrong.
"Don't turn your back and ignore it," Stone said. "Call the police or call crime check. We really need your help."
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