A day after Department of Public Works employees removed a racist message scratched into the play structure at Mill Pond Park, Mayor Brian Marl took to Facebook to speak out against racism.
“The recent vandalism at Mill Pond Park reveals an ignorance and bigotry that is both disgusting and abhorrent,” Marl wrote. “As someone who seeks guidance from the holy scriptures, I am reminded that the Bible states emphatically that we are all of the same blood, and that we are compelled to love one another, without exclusions or exceptions.”
Marl said there is no room in the City of Saline for racism and hatred.
“The Saline area is welcoming and inclusive, hatred will not be accepted or tolerated, and we will continue to embrace all of our citizens, because everyone of our residents matters, and needs to know that they are valued and respected in our community,” Marl said.
It’s unclear when the racist message was etched into the play structure. Saline resident Steve Diebol was playing with his kids at the park Saturday morning when he noticed it.
He immediately reported the offensive message to police.
“(It’s a) sad reminder that there are bigots among us. I don't want these messages to be promoted, but I guess we all need reminders, in 2017, that this is not OK,” Diebol said.
DPW Director Jeff Fordice reported the message was removed by 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
City Councillor Dean Girbach said the city will prosecute those found committing vandalism.
It’s the second high-profile vandalism case in recent months. The first was at the old Karpinski house on South Monroe Street, where a vandal used foul language to vent about the Mayor and City Manager. That case was an apparent political attack by someone frustrate with the wastewater treatment plant odor and perhaps the stalled development and dilapidated and potentially dangerous vacant house on the property.