KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For 30 years, Glenn Smith says he’s enjoyed going to Longview Lake Marina with his friends and family. But on Sunday, Smith says there was’t anything fun about his visit to the popular Kansas City spot.
“I was very upset. We stood there on the deck to feed the fish. We came in to buy more food, and that’s when we saw that thing. I couldn’t believe it,” Smith said Monday.
The tall, wooden “thing” that angered the Blue Springs grandfather was an attraction Jackson County Spokesperson Marshanna Hester said is known as a “pirate stockade.” Hester said for 10 years now marina visitors have used it as “a prop for pirate-themed birthday parties.
“I didn’t see any pirate-related stuff on or by that thing. No flag, no bucket, nothing for pirate days. There’s just no place for it. It’s slave stock. My grandson asked me, 'Why is it here?' It bothered me all night long, and I was sick to my stomach," Smith said.
Historians say centuries ago stocks and pillories were used, among other things, to punish or abuse slaves.
On Monday, other marina visitors also shared their thoughts about the attraction.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate that it would be in a public place like this,” Pat Elzey of Raytown said.
“It doesn’t matter if they say it’s for parties or whatever. It’s still offensive and in my opinion, I would take it down,” Dakota Hill of Leavenworth said.
“Maybe they should put it in a museum or something,” Amanda Sanders of Shawnee said.
Smith said he won’t stop until the “pirate-stockade” is history.
“It has chains, too. They need to get rid of it," he said. "We should be able to come here and have a good time without things like this lurking over our heads. I’m gonna do all I can to make sure they don’t keep it here."
In the meantime, Hester said park officials are taking Smith’s concerns very seriously. Hester also said they’re now using this “as an opportunity to re-evaluate the use of the pirate stockade.”
“We are committed to providing a welcoming environment for all who want to enjoy our parks system,” Hester said in a statement to FOX4.