Hanover Township youth soccer field destroyed by unknown ATV riders

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HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A youth soccer field was destroyed in a matter of minutes when some people decided to take their ATVs for a joyride. Now the field is out of commission for the rest of the season.

Officials with Earth Conservancy tell Eyewitness News they want people to realize the impact of the damage in hopes it will deter them from doing it again.

Some of the younger kids with Hanover Area Youth Soccer use the field on a regular basis for practice and games. Well not anymore. They’ll have to play somewhere else until the field can be repaired.

“It’s just a shame,” parent Stephanie Hooper said.

“It’s a shame that they have to ruin the field and the grass and everything,” grandparent Mike Walski said.

A shame. That’s what parents had to say when they saw the torn-up soccer field at the Rt 29 Sports Complex in Hanover Township Wednesday night.

It happened Sunday afternoon according to Terry Ostrowski, president of Earth Conservancy, the land reclamation group that owns and maintains the fields. He says a witness saw multiple vehicles off-roading on the field. They were gone by the time police arrived, but they left behind a huge mess.

“It’s deep rutting that’s going to have to be repaired by a landscaper. We talked to our landscaper. The full repairs are not going to be done until October,” Ostrowski said.

Ostrowski says they’ll have to bring in new top soil, roll the field and plant new grass. It will cost more than $1,000 and now the kids can’t play on the field.

“Luckily there are other fields they can utilize but it’s very disappointing the kids won’t be able to use this field for the rest of the season,” Ostrowski said.

“It’s a shame that these kids have somewhere to play, have something to do outside of school, have something to keep them occupied and now it’s ruined for the rest of the season. They can’t even play there,” Hooper said.

Parents say it’s not unusual to see people ride ATVs and dirt bikes through the complex because of the trails that run through the surrounding hills, but now they hope to see more gates to protect the fields that volunteers work hard to maintain.

“There’s many trails that they can go to without having to destroy a field that kids play on,” Hooper said.

In the meantime, Ostrowski wants people to understand the consequences.

“I hope people realize if somebody’s coming up here for 15, 20 minutes of joy-riding, what they’re really doing is taking away a field for an entire season for the children,” Ostrowski said.

The good news is the kids will be able to play on one of the other fields. The bad news is it will be very difficult for Hanover Police to identify the vandals.

Earth Conservancy says any information from the public is appreciated.

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