Vandals damage historical trails marker in McCoy Park

08/06/2013 1:20 PM

08/06/2013 1:21 PM

Independence officials soon hope to replace a trails history historical marker recently vandalized in McCoy Park.

The sign was ripped from its metal frame and then left in the grass, said Sharon Snyder, a resident of the McCoy neighborhood who contacted police about the theft, which occurred over the July 27-28 weekend.

The marker is salvageable, said Independence parks director Eric Urfer.

“We are considering a couple of different security measures,” he added, declining to elaborate.

The sign is one of five National Park Service historical markers recently installed in McCoy Park to note the community’s wealth of 19th century overland trails history.

“It’s just so disheartening,” said Snyder who, with her husband Brian, were among those who worked to have the markers installed.

“We have a serious vandalism problem that we need to address.”

Officials of the National Trails System of Santa Fe, N.M., an arm of the National Park Service, helped dedicate the five interpretive panels almost exactly a year ago.

The recent vandalism was the second time the markers have been vandalized just this year, Snyder said. Graffiti marred some of the panels in March, she said.

The collection of five park service signs is significant, added Brian Snyder.

“Some locations will get a sign or two. We got five,” he said. “This was a big deal, an effort on the national level to note the importance of this area.”

The incident, meanwhile, represents the second act of vandalism just this summer against Independence trails history installations.

In June a 6-foot statue of a pioneer mother disappeared from the exterior of the National Frontier Trails Museum. Three individuals have been charged in connection with the statue’s disappearance. One has a preliminary hearing scheduled for today.

Meanwhile, two unique upgrades are scheduled for McCoy Park, just south of the Truman Library.

Last month Independence officials broke ground on the Independence Ability Field, a baseball diamond designed to accommodate children with disabilities or special needs.

“Our hope right now is to have an inaugural game and ribbon-cutting in the late fall,” Urfer said.

The baseball field will be part of an inclusive play area that also will include two playgrounds for children both with and without disabilities. Fundraising continues for the playgrounds, and Urfer said he hopes to see ground broken for the playground section built for those ages 2 through 5 at the time of the Ability Field ribbon-cutting.

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