Benches getting damaged at Veteran's Memorial in Bradenton

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BRADENTON, FL. - A local veteran's organization says they are seeing more and more of the monuments at the veteran's memorial in Bradenton getting damaged, and they think skateboarders are to blame.

The memorial is right across the street from the skate park at Bradenton's Riverwalk.

ABC 7 spoke with the chairman of the Manatee County Veterans Council, Donald Courtney, who is pleading with the skateboarders to be respectful of the property.

Courtney says a member called him a few weeks ago, telling him some benches were damaged at the park. So far, three benches have been knocked off their pedestals and cracked, and two of them had to be sent off to be repaired. There are also marks on the concrete from skateboards.

Now, the council is using its own funds to fix the damaged benches, and Courtney says all he asks is that the skateboarders wait to actually ride across the street. “It means a lot to the veterans here. They have the serenity of the water; they can come here and sit down and reflect, contemplate and think about some of the friends they've lost. We're coming up on Memorial Day. We're getting ready to do the service for that and the families put their names here as a lasting memorial for time, and they may have a brick also, so we try to keep the park nice for them.”

Courtney says a lot of the damage is caused in the evenings and at night, and one member did witness skate boarders riding on the benches. He also says he has contacted Bradenton Police and they told him they will keep an eye on the memorial.