SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Springfield neighborhood center has been vandalized with racial slurs and phallic symbols.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that the Bartley-Decatur Neighborhood Center was tagged with fluorescent paint late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
“I was fighting back tears — still am,” said longtime director Mark Dixon, who urged anyone with information to speak up.
The historic building spent decades serving the city’s Black community as a hospital, convalescent home and daycare facility before falling into disrepair. Since it was restored with a $500,000 federal grant, is has served as a community hub and gathering place for many diverse groups, including the Springfield NAACP.
Dixon said it is too early to tell how much the cleanup would cost. He is hoping volunteers can offset some of the expense.
“We have people who are going to help because we don’t have money to be putting out for that type of thing,” he said.