Community upset over vandalized park

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. Leslie Gilson was shocked that someone would vandalize Gibbs Park in Huntington Beach.

The Gibbs Park Monarch restoration coordinator was stunned Sunday when she saw that nearly a dozen trees were vandalized at the popular park.

"It makes my heart sad. We cried when we came in and saw the damage," said Gilson.

The Boy Scouts helped plant the trees last year on Arbor Day. The city park is a source of pride for many neighbors who volunteer to take care of the space.

"We water and trim the plants. We plant things and try to take care of it. It's our park and our community," said volunteer Tina Stevenson.

It used to be overgrown. The trees were dead or dying. The restoration of the park has led to the return of the Monarch butterfly. Gibbs Park is known as part of the winter migrating path of Monarch butterflies who are drawn by the eucalyptus trees.

Neighbors stunned by the acts of vandalism. Officials aren't sure if the damaged pine and eucalyptus trees will survive. It would cost about $4500 altogether to replace.

"We always come to this park. I run thorough this park every morning. I'm in shock. This is a community park for the kids and families and for someone to do this is sad," resident Alexandria Everett.

So far police say there are no witnesses, and no suspects. And they have no idea why someone would do this. The people who have put so much effort into cleaning up the park hope that someone will come forward.

"Somebody must know something. We've got to catch them," said Gilson.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Huntington Beach Police Department at (714) 536-5333.

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