Hastings police have identified two men suspected of causing significant damage to soccer fields with a vehicle over the weekend, and expect to seek charges against them in the coming days.
The suspects allegedly drove a car onto fields at the Veterans Athletic Complex on Sunday night and tore up about 200,000 square feet of turf, including on three of the most-used fields at the complex.
In some places, the vandals spun doughnuts and left ruts 8 to 10 inches deep that will require extensive repair, police said.
Parks and recreation employees discovered the damage Monday morning and called police.
City staff have already met with several contractors to explore options for repairing the fields, according to Lee Stoffel, communications coordinator for the city.
“Vandalism and damage at any facility is discouraging. Willful damage to this degree is both frustrating and disheartening,” said Chris Jenkins, the city’s parks and recreation director. “This damage will be corrected, and play will resume, but it will require a lot of effort and expense to get there.”
The Hastings Futbol Club may feel the impact the most. The youth soccer club, which has 580 players on traveling and recreational teams, has 125 games scheduled at the park at 2500 Soccer Field Road between April 30 and June 3. City employees are working with the club to figure out where the games will be played.
Stoffel did not give a damage figure, but said the city has started the process of filing an insurance claim.