KENDALLVILLE — Mary Zeigler was at the Noble County Fairgrounds doing some winter storage Saturday morning when she saw it.
The gazebo located near the dairy barn, a favorite resting spot for many during the Noble County 4-H Fair, had been destroyed.
“I was very sad,” Zeigler, the fair board’s president, said Thursday. “It looks like there was someone jumping on it and it collapsed.”
The fair board is offering a reward to anyone who has information regarding who may have done the damage. People who have information can call the fair board’s office number at 318-2127 or the Kendallville Police Department at 347-0654.
According to Zeigler, the damage occurred at some point between 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
The gazebo was constructed between 5-7 years ago, Zeigler said, as a memorial to past fair board members.
A committee consisting of Scott Uhl, Ron Richards and Janeie Meyer had the gazebo installed on the fairgrounds after money had been donated from the estates of former fairground backers Lee Swogger, Galen Swogger, Clarene Reid and Connie Karst.
“I am very disappointed,” Meyer said Thursday. “It hurts my heart.”
Unfortunately, it’s only the latest vandalism which has occurred on the property, Zeigler said. Among other incidences, she said a large knife was found on the property, people also were discovered living in the semi-trailers located on the grounds.
Then there is the feral cat problem. Floral Hall has become the unwelcome home to up to 20 feral cats. The board is trying to get rid of them, and has gone so far as to place live traps. But the traps themselves have come up missing.
On a recent visit to the fairgrounds, Zeigler said she found — and removed — six cat food dishes which had been left there, which only exacerbates the cat problem.
Many people use the fairgrounds as a place to walk or bicycle, Zeigler said.
“The fairgrounds is private property,” Zeigler said. “We hate to close it, but the vandalism — it’s something all the time.”
Zeigler said the fair board is determining whether the gazebo was covered under its insurance policy.