UPDATE: Vandals ransack community center - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Vandals ransack community center

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A mirror in the Westside Rec Center is smashed. / Antwan Harris. A mirror in the Westside Rec Center is smashed. / Antwan Harris.
A bat still hangs from the ceiling in the Westside Rec Center. / Antwan Harris. A bat still hangs from the ceiling in the Westside Rec Center. / Antwan Harris.
Water fountains hang off the wall after vandals struck over the weekend. / Antwan Harris. Water fountains hang off the wall after vandals struck over the weekend. / Antwan Harris.

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Community leaders are trying to pick up the pieces at the Westside Recreation Center after vandals went on a rampage, damaging much of the interior of the building.

Solomon McGee is still in disbelief after the building was littered with everything neighborhood kids used.

Thousands of dollars in damages, and dozens of summer memories ruined.

McGee said, "It was disheartening to them because a lot of them have not been able to play in the gym."

Monday morning chairs and sports equipment were littered all over the hallway.

The Coke machine tipped over in lobby, glass mirrors shattered.

Police believe the vandals used a sledgehammer to do some of the major damage and when you look up, one of the weapons was left lodged in the ceiling.

The vandals ruined the security and fire alarm system, the building is not under code. There is a fear some programs won't happen.

LaTricia Watkins said, "When this happens and we have to shut the center down. The kids have no where to go."

So far volunteers have helped get the floors clean, but the busted air conditioning system has made the work quite challenging in the heat.

The hope is to have the building back to code by next week.

McGee said, "A lot of these children depend on this place everyday and many have made other arrangements during the week while we have been preparing the building."

As of now, much of what happens next will depend on how fast the housing authority can repair the building.

Latricia Watkins says that time can't come soon enough.

"We want to be involved in their lives and the sooner we can get our center open, the sooner we can get back to what we do by helping them out," she said

The housing authority is aware of the issue and working to get the center back on track.

The need right now is for school supplies and if you would like to help call Solomon McGee 423-266-3766 or 202-360-3645.

You can also email at solo1luv@yahoo.com

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