After several attempts at making the outlook on Cavanal Hill a place for families and tourist to enjoy Poteau’s claim to fame, another set back has occurred causing once again a financial loss for the Cavanal Committee and those who enjoy the facilities located on the top of the hill.
Vandal’s stuck the newly constructed pavilion over the weekend causing damages estimated in excess of $5,000.
According to Poteau Chamber of Commerce President Karen Wages, in August 2007, the Cavanal Committee began Phase I of the revitalization of the beautiful scenic vista from the top of the “World’s Highest Hill.”
She said the old rock stone pavilion was taken down and replaced by a new metal structure with a new concrete floor.
Gravel and loads of small rock were hauled in to make a nice scenic turn around. Picnic tables and landscaping were also added for the enjoyment of visitors that come from all parts of the United States to see the “Big Hill”.
“Phase II, 2008-2010, began with the purchase of a non-coin operated viewfinder and a terrain plaque. After the destruction of the concrete picnic tables of Phase I, two metal tables were added,” said Wages. “The engraved natural rock took on a new painted image after the vandals destroyed it with John Deer green paint.
According to Wages, Phase III, which was supposed to be the final phase, was made possible by a grant from Lowe’s with the help of Kiamichi Technology Center. A platform with a handicap lookout area is scheduled to be in place late September of this year. Swings, barbecue grills, picnic tables and trash cans will complete the last phase of the project. Bryan Fields and Jeff Meek have been working on this project this year.
“The latest project is a web-cam that is to be attached to the Poteau Chamber’s web-site so visitors from all over the world can see Poteau the way we see it everyday. Every time we move forward then we get a set back,” said Wages. “This is not going to stop the people that have the vision for the future of Cavanal. We now have cameras in place and we will soon catch those who are destroying the area for those that care about what happens in Poteau.”
The LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case of vandalism to the newly renovated vista. The people responsible for the destruction tore electrical wires away from the ceiling of the pavilion, left large holes in the metal roof, and shot out the security light installed at the sight. If you have any information leading to the conviction of the vandals responsible for the destruction to the pavilion contact the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department at 918-647-2317 or Karen Wages at the Poteau Chamber of Commerce at 918-647-9178. There is a $500 reward for anyone who can provide information leading to the conviction of the vandals.