Bruce Walgren of the Nelson-Izushi Friendship Society surveys the damage after vandals toppled a plaque in Cottonwood Falls Park presented by the then-town of Shuzenji in 1997.

Bruce Walgren of the Nelson-Izushi Friendship Society surveys the damage after vandals toppled a plaque in Cottonwood Falls Park presented by the then-town of Shuzenji in 1997.

Sister city plaque vandalized

A plaque in Cottonwood Falls Park marking the tenth anniversary of Nelson’s sister city relationship with Shuzenji, Japan was knocked off its pedestal Friday evening, badly cracking one corner.

A plaque in Cottonwood Falls Park marking the tenth anniversary of Nelson’s sister city relationship with Shuzenji, Japan was knocked off its pedestal Friday evening, badly cracking one corner.

Jim Sawada with the Nelson-Isuzhi Friendship Society says the damage was noticed Saturday morning, and must have been deliberate.

“It had to be kicked until it fell down. It’s not just that somebody touched it,” he says, adding it’s a rare occurrence for the park.

“We were pretty happy there was no vandalism there. Some trees were damaged, but otherwise it’s been very peaceful until now.”

The large granite plaque along with a stone lantern nearby were gifts in 1997 from the then-town of Shuzenji, which has since become part of Izushi. The plaque was at the Prestige Resort until being moved to the park in 2002, when a Japanese garden was developed.

Looking over the damaged monument Sunday, society president Bruce Walgren was frustrated.

“There’s no reason for this,” he said. “This is a public garden for everybody to enjoy, not just the Japanese club.”

Walgren says they’ve had help from the Rotary Club, Lions Club, and garden club. Trafalgar students will also do some weeding this month.

He’s not sure how they’re going to fix it. Sawada says he’ll try gluing it back together, while Walgren will see if a local stonemason might be willing to help.

“I’d rather repair it [than replace it],” Walgren says. “We’ll do the best we can, and if it can’t be fixed, we’ll have to go another route. But there’s got to be a way of getting it looking good before the summer.”

Another group of students from Izushi is scheduled to visit Nelson from August 15 to 21. Nelson’s return trip in March was cancelled this year due to the Japanese earthquake.

Sgt. Steve Bank says police have no leads and are appealing to the public for tips.