Ellis Park Playhouse Vandalized This Past Weekend

The playhouse at Ellis Park was vandalized this past weekend. Submitted photo.

Vandalism occurred at an Ellis Park playhouse for children sometime between Dec. 11 and 12.


“I discovered it on Saturday afternoon. I went there to get measurements to make roof repairs,” said Seth Needham, an organizer of the Citizens for Park Improvement group.  “We assumed the original damage to the roof was wind damage.”


However, Needham heard from multiple people that some kids were bragging to their friends about tearing up the roof several weeks ago.


“Friday night they just finished what they started,” he said.  “It also sounds like they may be responsible for the damage to the picnic tables, but there is no way to verify that because it’s hearsay.”


Needham also just recently became a member of the newly formed Fort Scott Park Advisory Board, organized by the city commission.


As a volunteer worker, he went to Ellis Park on Saturday to get measurements for some minor repairs, and discovered the damage, he said.
“I contacted Mike Braim, because he had been gathering materials to make repairs,” Needham said. “We met down there to survey the damage and see if it could be saved.”
“I posted a video of the aftermath to Facebook to try to get support for materials,” Needham said. “Shortly after that, I received a message with the video of the boys tearing it up. A parent of another teen who was not involved saw the video on her son’s Snapchat, and thankfully decided to save it.”
The Fort Scott Public Works Director was sent the video of the youth vandalizing the playhouse, as well as two Fort Scott City Commissioners, he said.

The FS Public Works Director Chad Brown did not want to comment on this particular case at Ellis Park since it is still being investigated, he said.


“But vandalism is a problem in our world, not just in Fort Scott but everywhere,” Brown said. ” Vandalism costs the taxpayers on so many levels you often have to wonder if the cost of having or re-building these things is worth it. Here in Fort Scott, we do not have much to begin with, so we as a community need to make sure that we are trying to take care of the amenities that we do have.”


Brown said the city is working to add security to the parks.


“In the future, we will be installing security cameras at various locations across the parks and other areas to make sure we can keep these things in as good a shape as we can and hopefully prevent this type of activity in the future,” Brown said.


“I would also like to see cameras installed at our parks, so if this happens again, people can be held responsible,”Needham said.  “Cameras are something we did discuss at the last parks advisory board meeting. Vandalism has been a huge issue in our parks this year.”
The vandals tore off the roof, siding, and trim, Needham said. “They were on video destroying the floor for the second story. They broke the steps inside. They tore up the gables and ripped off 90% of the exterior trim.”
The picnic table that was vandalized at Ellis Park. Submitted photo.
“We decided to try and rally community support to save it, because the damage was so widespread the material list was more than we could afford ourselves,” Needham said.
After an assessment to repair the damaged playhouse, Needham said the following work is needed.
  • New roof, including rafters, shingles, sheathing.
  • New floor joists and sheathing for the second story floor.
  • New stairs to the second story.
  • Exterior trim on corners and gables
  • Window trim.
  • Siding
“The plan is to move it to Gunn Park where it can be watched over and better maintained,” Needham said.
The following photos were submitted by Needham of the playhouse at Ellis Park.




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