Vandalism at Nike Site frustrates local league

Broken windows, a flooded field and a flipped over portable toilet — on multiple occasions — are part of what Shelton American Little League members describe as a rash of vandalism at the Nike Site in recent weeks.

Shelton American maintains two baseball fields and associated facilities at the city-owned Nike Site, located off Mohegan Road.

What’s been happening recently has been frustrating, according to John Larkins, league secretary and a coach.

Larkins spoke to The Herald after Shelton American detailed the latest vandalism in a June 26 Facebook post, asking the public for any information that could help catch those responsible.

“This is about the fourth time in the last month or so,” he said. “During this last time windows were smashed and they tried breaking in to the concession stand and the storage garage.”

The person or people involved also turned on a watering hose and left it running, flooding one of the fields.

A portable toilet the league pays to maintain has been flipped over multiple times in recent weeks. Each time, the company has to be called and paid to clean it up the mess, Larkins said.

Shelton American has invested in the site in recent years — both baseball fields were completely redone recently, thanks to fund-raising efforts. A batting cage damaged in a winter storm was just replaced this past spring.

“We have a league that’s 200-kids strong, about 175 families involved, and we have a tremendous group of volunteers of fathers and mothers,” Larkins said. “We use those facilities almost all year round.”

Shelton American is just one of many groups that use the Nike Site on a regular basis, Larkins notes.

“Thousands of families take advantage of the Nike Site,” he said. “At this point we just wonder ‘what will be the next stunt?’”

Larkins said League leadership is grateful to Shelton Police for being responsive and helpful as they’ve reported the crimes.They hope potential information from the public can help catch the vandals or encourage people to keep an eye out.

As Shelton American has detailed some of the crimes via Facebook, residents have suggested setting up surveillance cameras. But, a security system is a cost the League would like to avoid.

“Frankly, we’d rather be spending money on equipment for the kids than on a surveillance system,” Larkins said. “It’s a lot of money to try to prevent a couple of bad apples from acting like knuckleheads.

Larkins, who has been with Shelton American for seven years, said isolated incidents of vandalism have happened in the past, but never with the frequency seen in the last month.

“We’ve still got one of the best baseball facilities in all District 3 and that’s because of the labor of a lot of volunteers,” he said. “We’re going to stay focused on providing another option for the kids to be active, have fun and be involved in a good aspect of this town.”