Vandals hit beloved park honoring cancer survivors near Kansas City Plaza

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- From a distance, you wouldn't immediately notice what a vandal or vandals recently did at Bloch Cancer Survivors Park.

Step a little closer and you'll see somebody recently ripped out dozens of colorful tiles on a memorial wall and threw them on the ground.

But that's not all. The heartless criminals also scribbled graffiti on at least two of the three decorated displays.

"This is really a pretty sad statement about our city that visitors and other folks have to see. I mean, come on. This is a real civic jewel in our community," Plaza resident Kevin Collison said.

Collison, a former Kansas City Star reporter, and his wife moved to the County Club Plaza a few months ago. On Thursday afternoon, Collison was out for an afternoon stroll through Bloch Cancer Survivors Park when he spotted the awful damage.

Vandalism at Bloch Cancer Survivors Park in Kansas City

He immediately took a picture of it and posted it on Twitter, which ignited a firestorm.

"I noticed that somebody apparently just pried the tiles off the wall and left them on the ground. Graffiti and lots of trash were just all over. I was pleasantly surprised after my tweet, the city manager picked up on it right away. And I know the 311 folks at City Hall picked up on it, too. It's nice to see that it just didn't end up being something that people just said, 'Oh, this is so awful,'" Collison said.

For the last 28 years, the park's been a sacred place where family members and friends can come to reflect and remember their loved ones challenged with cancer.

"It is upsetting," said Laurie Linscott, who lives near the park.

Vandalism at Bloch Cancer Survivors Park in Kansas City

"Both of my parents are cancer survivors. I just think whoever is responsible for the damage needs to have a little more education about cancer, how it affects lives and what this park and other monuments really mean to people," Linscott said.

"It's very disappointing," said Louis Cummings with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department.

"Last week when were out here, everything was fine. Our workers just picked up leaves and stuff. I've never seen this type of vandalism at this park. We will be checking surveillance cameras in the areas to see if we can find the person or persons responsible. This will be a priority. We'll try to see what we can come up with as quick as we can to get it repaired," Cummings said.

"It's like we got to take pride in our community. We see something that's not right we got to make sure that people know about it," Collison said.

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