The Artesia City Council has voted to reopen a small park closed more than a year ago after it was heavily vandalized.
A group of residents in an area plagued by gang activity lobbied the council to reopen A. J. Padelford Park, the only park in the neighborhood on the northern edge of the city.
But the council stopped short of restoring the park to its former status. Instead, the council decided to demolish the community center, which is beyond repair, officials said. The demolition is expected to cost about $10,000. Vandals drove a stolen bulldozer over playground equipment and trashed the building last year. In October, a fire gutted the building and destroyed the roof.
The council voted to plant grass in the one-acre park, put in some picnic tables and leave the handball and basketball courts.
Genevieve Daugherty-Medina, chairwoman of the North Artesia Save the Park Committee, said her group will continue to work with officials to try to have another community center constructed.