Vandals steal plants from Maggie Valley park intended to serve those with disabilities

Vandals destroyed a sensory garden in Maggie Valley that was intended for people with disabilities. (Photo credit: WLOS Sttaff)

When it rains in Maggie Valley, it pours.

“It’s just disgusting,” said Allen Alsbrooks.

That's how many people all throughout the small town feel knowing someone already destroyed a brand new park. “Friday night, we found out that somebody had come in and taken 15 plants,” said Keith Kelley, Lions Club President.

The Lions Club is a service organization that's mission is to help those in their community.

Last year, the group set out to begin a new service project. The goal of the project was to give those with disabilities in the community more options to enjoy themselves. So, they came up with the idea of creating a sensory garden.

“We’re trying to do so much good for the community and somebody comes along and rains on our parade,” said Kelley.

That person stole more than $500 worth of plants, which included trees and shrubs. “Sick. Ya know, it broke my heart,” Kelley said fighting back tears.

In the midst of this feeling of heart break and hopelessness though, a Good Samaritan emerged. “I just decided then that I was going to help cover the costs of the new plants as best as I could,” said Alsbrooks. He said after hearing what happened he knew right away he needed to do something to help out his community. “My great grandfather was blind and my grandmother was blind, and so I have a special connection with people with disabilities, and for someone to violate the spirit of what was being done here, is just incredibly offensive,” added Alsbrooks.

Sometimes when it rains it does pour, but often times good things can come from that. “Giving a little bit of money was the least I could do,” Alsbrooks said.

On July 10, the town plans to hold a dedication at the park.

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