Parks and Recreation Launches “Enjoy, Don’t Destroy” Anti-Vandalism Campaign

The St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department is launching “Enjoy, Don’t Destroy” – an anti-vandalism campaign aimed at preserving the cleanliness and beauty of our County’s beautiful public resources and conserving County funds.

In the 2023 fiscal year, there were 191 reported work orders to repair vandalism at St. Johns County parks, totaling $63,403.43. In the 2024 fiscal year, there have so far been 46 reported work orders, already totaling $10,948.92. Over 30 police reports had to be filed for the FY 23 vandalism incidents. At nearly $75,000 in under two years, vandalism has become a costly issue for our County, and one that takes up too much of law enforcement’s time. Enjoy, Don’t Destroy will take aim at vandalism, encouraging park visitors to take pride in where they play and help Parks and Recreation staff focus on bringing them improvements and new amenities.

“St. Johns County residents visit our parks for a positive experience, and they expect high-quality facilities,” Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Kane said. “Nothing detracts more from the positive experience than to arrive at a site and find vandalism and destruction. Parkgoers should be able to expect great times in the parks, and they can assist SJC Parks and Recreation by reporting any damages to the department and any incidents they witness to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. We all deserve to have a great park system. Please, do your part and enjoy, don’t destroy.”

Enjoy, Don’t Destroy will include videos filmed at various County parks, featuring residents who cherish them and want to see them preserved for others to enjoy. They will encourage parkgoers of all ages to cherish these places themselves, and will teach them what to do if they see that others haven’t: Use our new SJC Connect app to report vandalism, and use the non-emergency number for the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office (904-824-8304) to report people caught in the act of vandalism.

“The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is committed to partnering with Parks and Recreation staff on this campaign to deter vandalism at our County parks,” St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick said. “I encourage our citizens to report acts of vandalism and help us preserve the park experience for our families and future generations.”

Enjoy Don’t Destroy will officially launch with a public kickoff event at Julington Creek Plantation Park, located at 3060 Racetrack Road, St. Johns, at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 5. Director Kane, Sheriff Hardwick, and District 1 Commissioner Christian Whitehurst will give remarks. The campaign will continue over the following months with the Parks ambassador video series featured across the County’s social media platforms.