MOLINE -- Three trees donated to the recently completed Sylvan Gateway Park were cut down by vandals late Thursday or early Friday.
The 12-feet swamp oaks were donated and planted by John Deere Seeding Group employees at the park, which was completed this summer, but not yet formally dedicated.
Rodd Schick, Moline park operations and maintenance manager, said the oaks are worth about $400 apiece. They were found laying on the ground Friday after someone used a handsaw to cut them down.
The trees had been planted along a park trail that leads to the recreation path on Sylvan Slough.
"This is just outrageous. I mean why would someone do this?" asked Daniel DeShane, a landscaper for Moline.
It cost more than $300,000 to build the park at 2nd Street and 1st Avenue that leads to Sylvan Island. The 2.8 acre-lot is now filled with native grasses, trees and bushes; paths were created; benches, picnic tables and restrooms were added; and a new parking lot installed.
"It was starting to turn into something beautiful and someone comes and does this," Mr. DeShane said.
The oak trees -- which were approximately 8 years old -- were planted earlier this summer. They had an immediate beautifying impact and drew a lot of positive comments from people, Mr. DeShane said.
He was working at Stephens Park Friday morning when a man, who uses Sylvan Gateway Park daily, stopped him.
"He asked if we had cut down any trees at Sylvan. I asked him if he meant on the island. When he said no, that is when I about dropped over," Mr. DeShane said.
Misty, a recreation trail user who declined to give her last name, said vandalism was senseless. "It is too bad because it is nice the city was trying to build this area up."
Mr. Schick said the park is well used, especially by fishermen who can be found at all hours casting lines along the slough banks or on Sylvan Island. Because of the popularity of the park, he's hoping someone saw something they can report to police.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers of the Quad Cities at (309) 762-9500.
Mr. Schick said new trees will be planted next week. This time however, he said the money will have to come out of the park department's budget.