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The maintenance staff of the city’s parks and recreation department have cleaned the graffiti from the wall of the Sarah Keys Evans Plaza.

Parks and recreation Director John Simeon said it took two employees between two to three hours Tuesday to clean the vandalism from the wall. With materials, he estimated the clean-up at around $300. “I’m very proud of parks and recreation Maintenance Superintendent Ryan Newsome and his staff for their diligent hard work in their successful clean-up of the Sarah Keys Evans Plaza.”

While commending staff, Simeon cleaning up vandalism takes employees away from providing positive services elsewhere. “It’s disheartening that someone would vandalize any historic monument or public property — especially for those involved in bringing the Sarah Keys Evans Plaza to fruition honoring a special individual.”

Simeon said he has spoken with members of the committee responsible for bringing the inclusive arts project to Martin Luther King Jr. Park at the intersection of Virginia Avenue and Wyche Street. The committee offered its thanks. “We’re going to have further conversations and give the police department ample time for investigation and paperwork and how and why this happened.”

He said the parks department will work jointly with the police department and welcomes its assistance and guidance.

The parks department is encouraging people in the immediate neighborhood to pay attention to activity in the community and to report suspicious activity to police. 

Ervin V. Griffin Sr., one of the committee members who along with others helped to bring the inclusive arts project to fruition, said the damage was discovered this past Saturday as members of his fraternity did a monthly clean-up project at the park.

Roanoke Rapids police Chief Shane Guyant said it is believed the crime happened sometime between Thursday and Friday.