While the theme park at 60 Slocum Street is no longer open, the cross is still lit up at night, overlooking Waterbury and I-84.
“It’s beautiful, you know, and everybody around here and from miles away just love it. It’s just a highlight of when you’re driving on 84,” said one Waterbury resident.
“It’s a little disheartening but like I say, we’re gonna get through it,” said Bill Fitzpatrick, volunteer coordinator for the site.
Fitzpatrick says the site has been known to attract vandals and mischief makers.
“There’s some that just have no respect. They want something on Facebook, get a picture up at the cross. So, they’re on a mission,” said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick says the vandalism happened sometime over the holiday weekend. The vandals scrawled profanity and images of pentagrams at the base of the cross.
Waterbury’s Holy Land opened in the late 1950’s and during its heyday attracted more than 40,000 visitors a year. For more than 30 years it has been a victim of hard times and has fallen into disrepair. Previous attempts to restore it were unsuccessful.
The property is now owned by Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary and local businessman Fritz Blasius. The board for the Holy Land says they are moving forward with plans to install web cams that will show the cross 24/7, live to viewers all over the world. The hope is this will help deter vandals from targeting the cross again.
“The whole mountain, it just tells a story. It’s a religious site but yet you walk up and you have the Beatitudes up there, the Ten Commandments are all written down,” said Fitzpatrick. “I hope we catch them. I hope we can get them up here to clean it up themselves and just let em put on notice and hope they realize this was the wrong thing to do.”
“It’s sad. It’s very sad. It’s such an icon for the area. It really is and Waterbury needs something like that,” said a resident.
There is no word on any suspects at this time.