DORCHESTER (CBS) — Vandals trashed a Dorchester tennis club over the weekend, leaving $20,000 in damage, just as it was getting ready to host a week of day camps for kids.

Someone broke into a shed at the Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester, took paint from it, and spilled it across three courts.

A community garden that shares the property was also damaged, with plants torn up and furniture strewn about.

Toni Wylie, the executive director of the center, told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens that the mess was found by the club’s finance director early Monday morning.

“Our barbecue grills had been turned over,” Wylie said. “It was the first thing he could see when he walked out the door, and then he turned around and saw some not-so-nice graffiti written on the doors as well.”

vandalism2 Vandals Leave $20,000 In Damage At Dorchester Tennis Center

The vandals knocked over grills. (Carl Stevens/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

The club has meant a lot to a lot of families over several decades, says Jennifer Charles, who was dropping her children off at the camp Tuesday.

“The Sportsmen’s Club is a very uplifting environment for children,” she said. “I believe that it’s very disrespectful to do that within the community when you have such a beautiful thing here.”

vandalism3 Vandals Leave $20,000 In Damage At Dorchester Tennis Center

Graffiti left on a building at the tennis center. (Carl Stevens/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

She said her kids love the place.

“I was in shock,” Charles said. “I don’t understand why someone would do something like that.”

The day camp is still going on for the 150 children who attend from Monday to Saturday, but there’s a lot more indoor activity due to the outdoor vandalism.

Wylie says the center is in contact with their insurance company, but they’re a nonprofit.  They provide many free services to neighborhood children and don’t have a lot of money to put toward dealing with the vandalism.


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