Vandals strike in a most unusual place and cause a very large blow to a small community park. Joseph Culliver Park, located on W Lincoln Avenue, just under one acre in size which housed a playground for children. This park had a set of swings, a rocking horse, a skate board rail, a U-shaped monkey bar along with a small covered area for shade and a picnic table.
On December 3, in the late evening hours someone decided to take matters into their own hands and torched this park. The Hendry County Sherriff Office was called to the scene Monday night around 11:00 p.m. and the park was engulfed in flames. At that time the local LaBelle Fire Department was called to the scene to control the fire and began an investigation.
The playground equipment was totally destroyed, all the plastic melted into nonexistence. The metal frames of the playground now look like a bucket of rust. You could not tell that there had been a slide attached to that frame. The mulch is now charcoal ash. All of the equipment has been contaminated by the debris, paint and plastics that have been melted into the frame and mulch. The playground is estimated to cost $26,000 to replace. The existing area is cordoned off so the grounds can be cleaned of all the burnt debris. The investigation is ongoing and the cause of the fire has not been determined at this time.
If anyone has any information on how this happened please call the Hendry County Sherriff Office at (863) 674-5600, this is an on-going investigation. The Fire Marshall also has an open investigation at this time. Call Hendry-LaBelle Recreation Board at (863) 675-5347 or any of the Hendry County Officials with any information you might have. We must stop vandalism or nothing will be left in our parks for us to enjoy.