Marcy Field vandalized

Marcy Field, in Keene Valley, was vandalized sometime between 1 a.m. and sunrise on Saturday. The damage is seen here from above. (Photo provided — Aaron Miller)

KEENE VALLEY — The town of Keene’s Marcy Field was vandalized early Saturday morning, leaving elected officials, law enforcement and residents searching for answers as the town prepares to piece together a plan to repair the damage.

Where there was once pristine grass over a scenic field and an open airport runway at the center of the town’s hamlet of Keene Valley, there is now several feet of torn up grass and deep tire tracks. The runway is now closed indefinitely and pilots are being directed to the Lake Placid or Lake Clear airports through a Federal Aviation Administration system. This act of vandalism is the latest in a spate of vandalism on town property, according to town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson, Jr.

The vandalism at Marcy Field happened sometime between 1 a.m. and sunrise on Saturday, according to Wilson. The town knows it was within that time frame because a resident happened to be outside taking photos of the night sky until around 1 a.m., Wilson said.

It was unclear as of Sunday who may be responsible for the vandalism. New York State Police are investigating the incident, and the town is encouraging anyone with information to contact either State Police or the Keene Town Hall.

“We’re trying to get the word out to the public to see if anybody saw anything, heard anything — because it’s really going to take solid info from the public to figure out who’s doing this and stop it,” Wilson said.

Tire tracks are seen here, spread throughout Marcy Field, after a driver sped over the grass early Saturday morning. (Photo provided — Aaron Miller)

Assessing the damage

It was also unclear as of Sunday how much it will cost to repair the damage, according to Wilson.

Town officials are looking to start piecing together a plan to get the runway back in working order soon, as well as the field.

The damage to Marcy Field is pictured here on Sunday, with the Holt House in the background. The Keene Farmers Market in Keene Valley went on at Marcy Field as planned on Sunday, but visitors — who normally would’ve parked here — were asked to park in a new spot around the runway to prevent any more damage before the town’s insurance company arrives. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

“I don’t know when it’s going to dry out enough to repair (the runway),” Wilson said. “I don’t know when I’m going to have the staff available to do it, and then to do the repair and reseed, grass won’t grow back instantly. It’s going to be hard to get even this usable in the near future.

“This is so significant and it’s not something we have experience with, with the extent of it,” he added. “We really are waiting for the adjuster to get here to give us his estimate, and then we can really start putting together a plan.”


Sunday’s Keene Farmers Market went on as usual, but visitors to the market were asked to park around the runway, rather than in the neighboring field, as the town waits for its insurance adjusters to arrive. Wilson said he’s not sure if people will be able to park in the field again next week.

Vandalism and crime in the town of Keene — which has a population of around 1,000 people — is relatively rare, particularly on public property.

“People are really upset, and the town is really taking this personally,” Wilson said.

Marcy Field is a historic property, home to one of the first settlements ever built in town — the Holt House, the core of which dates back to the 1830s. It’s also home to the Keene Community Garden, an airstrip, and a large tree — which is decked out in lights during the holidays, and the silhouette of which is featured in the town’s logo. The Keene Farmers Market is held there every Sunday, and the town sets aside space in the field to host weddings, craft fairs and community events such as the Kite Fest, which is scheduled for Aug. 6.

“Hopefully we won’t disrupt any events,” Wilson said.

Pattern of vandalism

Wilson noted that this latest act of vandalism follows others on town property in recent weeks.

Three weeks ago, the town’s transfer station was also vandalized, requiring two days of work to clean up smashed refuse and shattered glass that was spread across the property.

The town’s storage trailer, which stores electronic waste, was also hacked open; two sides of it were chopped up with a metal object.

“Glass, screens, electronic debris — and they really put effort into it. … They carried it all over the area between our recycling, our solid waste bin and then our bottle collection. They covered the whole parking lot,” Wilson said. “Whoever did it really put some effort and energy into vandalizing the trailer, then smashing all the stuff, dragging it all over and really making a significant cleanup problem with glass and metal.

“We’re waiting for our insurance adjuster to get here, now we’ve got to add (Marcy Field) to the insurance adjuster’s stuff, because this is going to be really significant here,” Wilson added.


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