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‘Malicious intent' possible in damage to Buck O'Neil Education and Research Center

Posted at 5:02 PM, Jun 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 23:13:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center suffered extensive damage on Friday following what police described as “intentional property damage” with “malicious intent”.

Police were on scene Friday afternoon at the center, located at 18th and Paseo.

Investigators believe someone broke into the facility before cutting a water pipe.

The center, the home of the old Paseo YMCA and the birthplace of Negro League baseball, underwent a $4 million renovation completed last year.

Ollie Gates, who led the renovation project, estimated the flooding damages on Friday to be around $250,000. 

“This is more than just the Buck O’Neil building or the Paseo YMCA. It’s the building that’s the history of black people in Kansas City,” he said. “It did enough damage to kind of hurt your soul that somebody would be that negligent or that thoughtless that they would go in and do something like that.”

City Councilman Jermaine Reed gave 41 Action News a tour of the damage after the crime was reported.

Multiple puddles could be seen on many of the floors while water dripped down from the ceiling in areas.

Reed also showed the pipe, with its top section cut off, on the floor where the flooding began.

“Whoever did this, they went in after they cut this pipe and they turned the water on,” he explained. “To cut this and know to turn the water off and then know to go back and turn the water on, it had to be malicious.”

Hours after the flooding was discovered, cleanup crews remained inside the building.

Gates told 41 Action News that despite the damage, the Buck O’Neil Center would recover to once again show off Kansas City history.

“They didn’t kill us,” he explained. “They just hit us but we’ll fix it.”