Multicultural News

Belmont Beach vandalism pushes organizers to share site’s historical significance

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Vandals were caught on camera causing damage at Haughville’s historic Belmont Beach. Teenagers are the suspected culprits. Representatives said they want to bring it to the community’s attention to try to spread the word and educate.

A lot of work has gone into creating this space for the community. Belmont Beach just this past weekend wrapped up a major fundraiser. Beach representatives said they are spreading the word not to criminalize the people responsible but hopefully let them know the beach’s historical significance.

Belmont Beach lines the shores of the White River, right in the heart of Indy’s Haughville neighborhood.

“When the weather is beautiful you can come out to Belmont Beach and see kids playing in the sand families having picnics,” said Friends of Belmont Beach executive director Ebony Chappel. “We do programming out here all the time, this space really comes alive.”

So new surveillance video of vandals, has shaken things up. Since organizers aren’t looking for criminal charges, we’ve blurred the images. Chappel, Teddrick Hardy are part of the Friends of Belmont Beach –the organization, that for the last two years have worked to transform the beach and add community programming.

“A lot of them looking at the footage are young people. And what we would really love to see instead of them being ostracized or punished we would like to embrace them and really show them what the space means,” Chappel said.

It’s taken a lot of work to transform the area to what it is today. But the history of the place runs much deeper. At one time, this was one of the few places Black people could swim recreationally.

“I slept on it and thought maybe could be just some people out here not understanding what’s going on with the project,” Hardy said.

They say the immediate steps were to clean things up. So just days later, most of the graffiti has been cleared or wiped away.

“The biggest thing is for the community having a space that we can go to. Be comfortable be safe,” Hardy said.

They are asking the community to keep watch and let them know if they recognize the people involved. Understanding 99% of the visitors do what’s right. Hoping it motivates the one percent to get on board.

“No, it’s not to criminalize or demonize anybody. It’s about showing what it looks like to really take care of the place that you call home,” Chappel said.

Belmont Beach project is ending out the it’s season this weekend with a series of events including movie night and truck or treat.