LaBelle - Barron Park has been riddled with problems from broken sinks in the bathrooms to graffiti scrawled across benches and signs. A memorial that is being constructed in Barron Park, in honor of the hometown hero, FWC Officer Julian Keen, Jr., was also recently received damage. On August 31, 2020, after the concrete foundation was poured, it was almost immediately vandalized.
“Does anyone know who made their mark on the cement that is to be in memory of Julian Keen?” Kelly Boone, Executive Director of the LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation, wrote in a Facebook post.
The post featured two photos showing the vandalism that had occurred. A game of tic-tac-toe, handprints, hearts, and stars, and the name “Rose Fisher” had been scratched into the wet concrete.
“Maybe it’s the rainy weather, maybe it’s the fact that you just caused a lot more work for community partner, or maybe it’s the pure disrespect that you are showing for trashing what is trying to be done but I feel like it needs to be said that this is in bad taste and not appreciated by anyone that is trying to work on this project. It’s disrespectful to the memory of Julian and to our beautification efforts,” Boone added.
The town’s citizens responded with comments mostly condemning the act. However, one commenter wrote, “Well I see a heart, I see a star, I see a crown, I see the sun and I see lots of hands touching him. maybe they all miss him very very much.”
Boone commented that, “Jackie Ratica has mad skills and will be able to fix it, but it’s still a hassle and pointless.”
Several people shared the Facebook post asking for the vandals to step forward. Others said they were looking forward to the project moving on. The matter remains unresolved.