Vandals nearly destroy historic church in Grant Co. - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Vandals nearly destroy historic church in Grant Co.

(FOX19 NOW/Jessica Schmidt) (FOX19 NOW/Jessica Schmidt)
The historic Rice Chapel (FOX19 NOW/Jessica Schmidt) The historic Rice Chapel (FOX19 NOW/Jessica Schmidt)

Grant County community leaders are devastated after a historic building was nearly destroyed by vandals.

Grant County Parks and Recreation officials said that the Rice Chapel, which is located at the Grant County Park, is currently a muddled mess.

They believe vandals busted down the door and caused destruction inside the church by breaking chairs, shredding hymnals, tossing flower pots and staining the walls with varnish.

"Heartbreaking just to see the church, this historic part of the county, just torn apart," Nick Wilson, the Assistant Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said. "Just sad to see the stuff torn about, and what some people like myself regard as holy."

Park officials said they do not know who did it, when they did it or why they did it. They also do not yet know how much all of the damage is going to cost.

They said the building is a former African-American church that is an important part of local culture and the community narrative.

"In remembrance of the African-American community here and the role they played in the county," Wilson said.

The parks department is now working to hire a company to make needed repairs.

The directors are also looking at boosting security and plan to install a new, stronger door. They said that the Grant County Sheriff's Office is investigating and is upping patrols at the park.

This isn't the first time there has been damage at the park. In 2012, officials reported that someone set fire to a concession stand and to a historic school. The school, which was then located next to the Rice Chapel, was so severely damaged that it is no longer there.

Anyone who has information about the latest vandalism is asked to contact law enforcement and report it.

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