Upstate park vandalized leaving $20,000 in damage

SENECA, S.C. (WSPA) – Vandals left thousands of dollars in damage at an Upstate park. Seneca police are investigating what happened at Blue Ridge Field. They say it’s an important piece of African American history for the community.

Police say at least two people broke into the facility using a metal pole over the weekend.

“It just saddens my heart to know something like this is taking place,” said Seneca resident Cecelia McWhorter.

The ceiling was ripped out and electrical wires dangled. Seneca Police Lieutenant Casey Bowling says this was the scene discovered Sunday morning at Blue Ridge Field.

“This is heartbreaking,” he said. “We’ve had concerts down here, we’ve had festivals.”

He said vandals damaged the park’s storage building and bathrooms while harming its history.

“This is the site of the historically African American high school – Blue Ridge High school.”

Nowadays for folks like Cecelia McWhorter, the park plays an important role.

“For senior citizens, it’s a walking trail. They come over early in the morning and walk,” she said.

The trail is now littered with pieces of insulation from inside the storage facility. Lt. Bowling said there are holes in the wall from what appears to be a bicycle being rammed into it.

He said the estimated cost of all the damage is between $20,000 and $30,000.

“It’s been damaged before – around five or six other times but not to this extent,” Lt. Bowling said.

Lieutenant Bowling says police are continuing to follow leads.

“The city of Seneca has put so much time and effort into preserving the history of blue ridge high school and to see someone just destroy it like this. It really hurts,” he said.

Investigators say there was no graffiti or markings to indicate it was a hate crime or racially motivated.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Seneca Police Department at 864-885-2718.

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