Vandals continue to damage Dolly Cooper Park, Anderson Co. officials say

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POWDERSVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Anderson County leaders said they’ve recently seen vandalism at Dolly Cooper Park. This is ahead of a $350,000 construction project. They’re now wanting vandals to stop so construction can begin on the project that’s expected to bring a big boost to the county.

Nearly 40 acres of land at Dolly Cooper Park is supposed to be a place for recreation and peace.

“It’s a great course…full 18, and very technical,” said James Youngblood, a park goer.

James Youngblood plays disc golf here. But now vandals have damaged this land.
  
“We have juveniles or juvenile-minded adults that are treating Dolly Cooper’s parking lot like a racetrack,” Anderson County Parks Department Manager Matt Schell said.

Schell said people have been driving recklessly around the park for years, creating muddy trails and donut marks.

“Before we put all the boulders up that you see, they were getting onto the ball fields. They were getting on down by the river and driving through the woods,” Schell said.

The latest round of destruction happened over the weekend. Schell said this was the last straw. It’s now creating unnecessary ponds, a community eye-sore and costing a lot to fix.

“It’s taxpayer money that’s having to go out after the same problem year after…year after…year,” Schell said.

The county is preparing to spend $350,000 to enhance their kayak launch, which is a 1500 linear feet shore line access trail.

“We’re getting ready for this large scale project, but what we keep facing is this decade old plague, which is vandalism,” Schell said.

He now has this message to anyone with information about the vandalism.

“Turn in your friends, make a call, leave a tip. Turn in someone that is not your friend if you know they are doing this because this is damaging county facilities, the river. It’s damaging the community,” Schell said.

As for Youngblood, he hopes the damage will stop, too.

“The park has a lot of potential to be more, so it’ll be nice to see the county take more of a holistic approach of solving this issue, by just renovating the park some and making it a place you’d want to come to do more than cut donuts,” Youngblood said.

County leaders said their entrance gate must remain open for people who needs access to the water area in the park. Right now, they’re in the process of discussing surveillance camera options. They hope it will help with protection of the park.

Leaders said the shore line access trail project will be completed for the park’s first annual Rhythm on the River event. It’s set for May 2.

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