Kenosha sees nearly $2M in damage to city property so far amid unrest: report

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The destruction caused by rioters in Kenosha last week following the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23 has caused nearly $2 million in damage to city-owned property, according to a report on Monday.

“Right now, we’re estimating between lost equipment, lost street lights, lost traffic signals, and miscellaneous sign damage – we’re estimating a cost of approximately $1.9 million,” said Kenosha Public Works Director Shelly Billingsley, in an update reported to the Public Works Committee.

Billingsley said her staff continues to tally the numbers following the destruction and the estimate is based on what it would cost to replace the equipment, according to Kenosha News.

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A protester lights a cigarette on a garbage truck that was set on fire during protests late on Aug. 24, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis., sparked by the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha Police officer a day earlier. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

She added that two dump trucks were destroyed amid the unrest, which also functioned as snow-plow vehicles in the winter. Officials remained optimistic they could get two new purchased ones prior to the snowfall this year, although the coronavirus pandemic and other factors could impact how quickly that would happen, the paper reported.

Garbage trucks were also destroyed after they had been deployed in the downtown area during the daily protests that turned violent at night. Billingsley said those vehicles were insured.

“But as much as it is a loss, the burning hulks did provide some additional security,” said Ald. Bill Siel, according to Kenosha News. “So, I guess they went down with a fight.”

The damage report comes as Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian announced on Sunday he has requested $30 million in state funding from Gov. Tony Evers "to help the City of Kenosha rebuild and heal after the week of violence and damage experienced particularly in the downtown, uptown, and surrounding areas of the city," Fox 6 Now reported.

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“Kenosha is a safe community with hardworking individuals who are mourning and facing immense tragedy and devastation,'' Antaramian said in a news release. “We’re asking the state and community partners to help rebuild what was lost and to invest in programs and training for our young people.”

Billingsley said she didn't have an update for what the costs would be for the added personnel involved.

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Kenosha fire officials reported 37 fires set on Monday night, Aug. 24 following the police shooting of Blake, according to the station. The following night, two people were fatally shot, and the suspect, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse has since been charged.

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