Park-Goers React to Vandalism at Cunningham Park - KOAM TV 7

Park-Goers React to Vandalism at Cunningham Park


Gary Orton walks his dog almost every morning through Cunningham Park, but what he and other residents saw this morning they were not expecting.

"I know the police can't be everywhere all the time but you know it's just some of the disrespect that whoever it is is doing this has for what's trying to a nice park again and a neighborhood park when you you have this type of vandalism," says Orton.

Images of male and female genitalia still litter the street down Porter Avenue and have been mostly cleaned up by the basketball courts, attracting on-lookers.

"We showed up to see how bad it was. to see if there was something we could do like gray spray paint or cause we weren't really sure how fast the parks department would get on it. Because I know for a fact there were some families here with children  and they did end up leaving because it was pretty widespread," says Joplin resident Charlie Brown.

For many like Joplin residents like Brown, Cunningham Park is a symbol of Joplin's resilience. He helped to clean up the park after the tornado and says seeing this here of all places is disturbing.

"You know parks mean a lot of different things to different people. and my dad actually passed away across the street when the hospital was here. And this was a place that I came to reflect to. And like I said, people need to be really mindful before they do something so malicious," says Brown.

Neighbors say this isn't the first time the park has been vandalized.

"I know that last fall they had kicked in the wall in part of the memorial they built over here. and they found the flag cut down from the pole. You know so that was as much aggravating as anything," says Orton.

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