ENGLEWOOD — Recent heavy rains and damage allegedly caused by a vehicle in a church parking lot could impact Monday’s Pioneer Days parade.
A vehicle that may have gotten stuck in a St. Raphael’s Catholic Church parking lot — the unpaved lot was already covered in several inches of standing water — left treadmarks and ruts in the property that was supposed to have been a staging area for Monday’s parade.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, a neighbor spotted a White Dodge Ram pickup that may have caused the damage around 7 p.m. Sunday at the church lot at the intersection of Old Englewood Avenue, St. Raphaels Drive and Kilbourne Avenue. The neighbor failed to get a tag number but saw the truck appear to be stuck in the lot. The truck drove off a short time later, leaving muddy treadmarks in the sandy lot.
The area is part of the Pioneer Days parade route and could lead to a major restaging of the parade participants, said Jean Airey, co-chair of Pioneer Days organizing committee, in an email Monday morning.
By the afternoon her outlook was more optimistic, but she said whoever caused the damage should come forward.
“Whoever did this needs to be castigated for it,” Airey said. “We’ll be fine working with it. We deeply regret that anyone would treat Englewood land like that.”
Attempts to reach Rev. Mark Schaffner of St. Raphael Church were unsuccessful.
“We feel for St. Raphael’s Catholic Church since they do so much for the community,” Airey said.
The church will try to put some barricades around the area for safety, according to the SCSO report. The incident is not considered a crime, according to the SCSO.