Senseless vandals make mark on Osage City’s parks – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Senseless vandals make mark on Osage City’s parks

As the weather warms up, sometimes so does vandalism. And for the Osage City Parks Department, this spring is one of those times.

Gary Thompson, Osage City park director, says vandalism at the city’s parks has become frustrating already this year, with the latest damage occurring in the restrooms at Santa Fe Park in downtown Osage City. The culprits apparently kicked holes in the walls of the restrooms, requiring their closure until repairs could be made. Osage City police estimated the damage at $300, but Thompson said every act of vandalism adds expense for the city and citizens.

Other vandalism that occurred earlier this year included plumbing fixtures torn from the wall at the Lincoln Park, toilets plugged with foreign materials, a broken monument near the military tank, along with spray painted graffiti and messes in the restrooms.

Thompson said the repairs to the Santa Fe Park restrooms would be completed by this weekend. Police are still investigating the incident and are asking the public for any information that might identify the vandals.

Thompson noted the parks department primarily consists of three people who encounter the vandalism and must repair or clean up the damage: himself, Greg Carson and Brenda Dorsey. Any vandalism interrupts the parks department’s regular duties, which include mowing about 200 acres of city property during spring and summer.

Thompson said his frustration comes from the fact that the vandals are destroying property that belongs to all of the citizens in town. Osage City has four parks, Lincoln, Santa Fe, Jones and Huffman, in addition to other areas used by the public and maintained by the park department.

“It’s just frustrating to go out and check the parks each time,” Thompson said.

Osage City Police Chief Fred Nech said vandalism frustrates the police department, too, partially due to the fact that not every park or its restrooms can be kept under constant surveillance. He said Lincoln Park’s surveillance cameras have helped apprehend vandals in the past, but not all of Osage City’s parks have security systems.

“We definitely try to be aware as we can of who is in the park and using it,” Nech said.

He noted that all of Osage City’s parks close at 10:30 p.m. and anyone in the parks after hours is in violation of city ordinances.

“If we see anyone in park after it’s closed, we make immediate contact with them,” Nech said.

The police chief said that most incidents of vandalism can be attributed to young people, as most of the people apprehended for such incidents “have been youth, anywhere from kids to teenagers.”

He said the reasons for vandalism are hard for adults to understand, but a usual reason is kids showing off to friends.

“It’s a real cowardly way of going about making themselves look bad,” Nech said. “But some of it’s just mischief. It seems kids that are bored gravitate to doing things like that.”

Nech asks that anyone who sees any suspicious activity at the city’s parks to report it to the police department.

“If somebody is doing something that catches their attention and it doesn’t look right, watch and listen to what’s going on and give us a call, we’ll check it out,” Nech said. “And if you see people hanging out in park after hours, definitely call us on that.”

For now, Thompson is asking park users to respect the facilities that Osage City provides for its citizens, knowing that all the citizens help pay for it.

“People should just be respectful of other people’s property,” Thompson said. “They should treat it like it’s their own.”

Nech agrees, “For a small town, we’re fortunate to have all of the facilities we have and we would like to keep it that way.”

If anyone has information about vandalism or any other criminal activity in the city, contact the Osage City Police Department at 785-528-3131.

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