The hearts of young athletes were broken on Friday, Aug. 23, when they laid eyes on the ruin that was once their home-away-from-home. Two local boys, ages 11 and 13, vandalized the clubhouse and concession stand of Levittown United Softball, a 60-plus-year-old league headquartered at 6401 Mill Creek Road.
After breaking in through the front door, the pair, armed with a baseball bat and hatchet, “destroyed everything in sight,” according to league president Rick Palmer.
“The concession stand, all the trophies and everything upstairs. They broke a couple freezers, a cash register, some equipment, a Keurig coffee machine,” Palmer told The Times. “Basically anything that they could break, they broke.”
Though a neighbor caught them in the heinous act, the league is now facing an unprecedented financial hardship thanks to the boys. The estimated cost of the damage is a whopping $10,000.
With Levittown United Softball operated by Bristol Township volunteers and the yearly budget funded by sponsors and registration costs, this expense could take years for the league to recover from.
But thankfully, this may not be the case.
On the day after the damage was discovered, Palmer created an online GoFundMe campaign. When The Times went to print last week, more than $5,000 of the $10,000 goal had already been raised.
“I think it’s great that the community’s willing to pitch in and help these kids out so we can get things back to where they were,” he said.
Donations range from $20-$115, with comments on the page showcasing locals’ outpouring of support.
“I was saddened to hear what happened to your program. Sports programs for children are so important for a community,” wrote one donor. “I hope this small donation can help repair the damage and get this important program up and running again.”
Palmer is already working on repairs, hoping to get the clubhouse and concession stand in as much order as possible before the “Fall Ball” season starts next week.
Moving forward, Palmer admitted the difficulty in preventing acts of vandalism, such as graffiti on the walls. However, he can deter crimes of this magnitude by implementing extra security measures.
“Kids will be kids, but this wasn’t kids being kids,” he said. “We’re going to reinforce the spot where they went in at. That’s the only place that’s not sealed doors, so we’re working on doing something there.” ••
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org