Vandals damage Riverfront planters

Published 2:36 pm Thursday, January 12, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - More than a dozen planters lining the Main St. Bridge in downtown Niles were damaged during the holidays. The pieces were part of the Niles Blooming Bridge project created two years ago.
The planters were made of PVC pipe six inches in diameter, with the tops of the pipes cut open. The hollowed out space was then used to plant petunias and three to four other types of flowers in the spring.
The planters were attached to the bridge with two metal straps on each end. Each strap was lined with holes that, when attached with a screw, grasped the rails of the bridge along the walkway.
Lisa Croteau of Niles Main Street said 18 planters were damaged as a result of vandalism. Croteau believes the planters were shaken long enough, and with enough force, to cause the screws to break through their holes in the metal straps.
The Blooming Bridge project allows individuals and businesses to ‘adopt' a planter, which means they help pay for the item and, in return, they are recognized by a nameplate on each planter.
Croteau said the flowers are planted during the first weekend in June and watered every other day through September. The watering process is about a three hour job, Croteau said, and she believes around 300 volunteer hours were put into the project last year.
The group in charge of the Veterans Memorial may also be able to help in the process, Croteau said, by viewing the tape of the camera that monitors the memorial for any suspicious activity.
Croteau said she is offering a $100 reward for information on who may be responsible for the damage. She is also giving people the option of calling the Niles Police Department instead of Niles Main Street.