Auxvasse Park Attracts Families by Day, Vandals by Night

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AUXVASSE - This Callaway County city's only park with a playground is a popular place for play. But A.H. Domann Memorial Park is also a popular place for vandals. 

Auxvasse South Ward Alderman Michael Bertschinger said the park bathrooms have experienced the brunt of the vandalism, "Recent attempts have just been to attempt to enter the bathroom after hours, the doors have been kicked in repeatedly and, with the doors being kicked in, there's been small damage on the interior," he said. "We had one incident of gravel actually being poured down inside the toilet, just simple acts of teenagers I would guess." 

Bertschinger said this is not the first time the doors have been kicked in, "Over the years, it's been a recurring occurrence," he said. "I mean, every year we have a new group of individuals who decide it's enjoyable to try to see what they can get away with."

Thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Bradt lives down the street from the park. She said she likes to hang out there with friends, as well as her niece. Brandt said the park is beneficial for local moms, "I think it really helps moms and their kids because some people can't afford to get playground equipment in their backyard," she said. "They just gotta come up here and they got it."

Bradt said local teens body slam or kick in the doors, consequently denting and breaking the doors' hardware. This damage has already cost the city hundreds of dollars. Bertschinger said the city is now looking into replacing the doors, "Currently, they're a lightweight system," he said. "Ideally, I think we'd like to see a steel door and a steel frame in place. We just have to go over budgets to see what the park can afford."

Bertschinger said two new steel doors will cost about $200 total. He added the board of alderman initially addressed replacing the doors October 8, but the board will not vote until its meeting on October 22 at the earliest. 

Bradt said the vandalism is not exclusive to the bathrooms. She said it also extends to the tables, adding they serve as a site for small town gossip through graffiti, "It's kind of like your gossip blog. Instead of Facebook, you got tables." 

Bradt said acts like these reflect poorly on the town, "It's kind of embarrassing when people you don't know come here."

Though Bradt hopes the vandals are caught, she does not think it will curb vandalism in the park, "I really don't think it's ever going to stop," she said. "That's just because why they do it, I don't think they could answer that themselves."