Chopper5 picture of Splitlog Park's smiley face mowed into the grass
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -
A KCK man used his lawn mower to shame Wyandotte County officials.
The neighborhood park has become an eyesore with crumbling steps and overgrown grass. So Greg Vogan took his riding lawn mower and let it do the talking at Splitlog Park.
He spent days cutting a smiley face into the grass at the park, which is located at Seventh Street and Splitlog Avenue. Days went by and no one from the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and KCK noticed.
The weeds are nearly 8 feet tall and well over the head of Vogan, who is 6 feet tall.
"I made a big smiley face to bring attention to this park because the city or county hasn't given any attention to this park," he said.
After KCTV5 aired the story Thursday night, Unified Government crews were out bright and early Friday morning sprucing up the park. A mower got rid of the smiley face and the weeds while others picked up trash.
Vogan said he was born and raised in the area nearly 50 years ago. He remembers a much different atmosphere.
"There use to be baseball games or soccer games. This use to be the place to play," he said. "Now it's just overrun with weeds."
He said he wants the neighborhood children to have a safe place to play.
"Now there's graffiti. The city doesn't mow it. The old sign saying Splitlog Park is long since gone. It was vandalized."
Unified Government officials admitted it had been six weeks since the park was mowed. They said the area does deserve a nice park and promised to take better care of the park.
Officials said part of the problem is Splitlog Park sits in a bowl so they have drainage issues, and they avoid cutting the grass when it's wet.
Some residents said they are too afraid to let their children play in the park for safety concerns including snakes and wild animals.
"I think if they would mow, the kids will go over there and play," Clara Ponce said.
Elizabeth Ramierez, a ninth-grader, said children are forced to practice soccer in the street.
"It's really nasty down there. The grass is not cut," she said.
Vogan said he chose a smiley face because he wanted his statement to have a positive spin. He said he wants the smiles to be on children's faces, not in the grass.
He hopes government officials will do their part to put community pride back into the park.
"Some other parks that they maintain much better. This sadly isn't one of them. Maybe because it's an economically depressed area," Vogan said. "They just don't care as much."
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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