NEW BUFFALO — Vandals left New Buffalo's public beach area in disarray Saturday morning, June 6.
A few days later the New Buffalo Business Association's downtown information booth was found to be ransacked, with all of the racks formerly affixed to its inside walls torn down and damaged beyond repair.
Dustin Harvey of the New Buffalo Beach Club concession said the June 6 damage was discovered in the morning by local police officers and included tipped over outhouses and lifeguard stands. He said all of the New Buffalo Beach Club's signage and other outside equipment had been ripped down and rental chairs out on the beach had been strewn about.
"And then we found all of the stuff in trash cans and over at the Lions Pavilion," Harvey said.
By early afternoon on Saturday, June 6, most of the Beach Club signs had been put back in place (although one surfboard-shaped sign had been broken in half), the outhouses and lifeguard stands were upright and back in use and the lakefront was bustling with activity.
Cleaning up the outhouse mess located in front of the concession building was a priority in the morning.
"Between us and the park people we washed it, and then they called the port-a-potty people and they came out and refilled and re-did them," Harvey said.
"It's just disheartening because we're just opening the beach … we're all coming out of quarantine," he noted.
On a brighter note Harvey said people from the business community helped put everything back in its place before the beach got busy.
Audrey Tuszynksi, secretary of the New Buffalo Business Association, said she discovered the damage to fixtures used to display brochures and other printed information inside the information booth (located at the intersection of North Whittaker and Merchant streets) on Monday, June 8, when she went there to sanitize the space before placing new brochures inside.
She said nothing was removed, just left as a big broken mess on the floor of the booth.
"We did file a police report," Tuszynksi said.
"It's just unfortunate. All of our member businesses, their dues pay for that. We spent I think $6,000 two years ago when they were re-doing Whittaker Street. Now we have to re-do it all again."
Tuszynksi said there's some hope that the bank across the street may have a security camera that caught some footage of suspects.
By the end of the week the information booth had been restocked about a third of the way up the walls, with the remainder of the racks needing to be replaced.