Chris Howell NewsOn6.com
Osage--Osage is known as the little community by the lake, and the town still looks out over the western end of Keystone Lake. But the lakeside park has fallen into a horrible state of disrepair. Some longtime residents still remember how nice the park once was.
‘It was beautiful, full of campers and fishermen, every weekend you could try to find a place to camp or go fishing. It was a beautiful park at that time,' said resident Teresa Parks.
Now the park is in shambles. Driftwood and trash litter the grounds and silt has all but closed the boat ramp. Vandalism has also been a problem at the remote park.
‘They had the bathrooms all fixed back up and someone came in and tore them all back down again and just demolished it,' said resident Shirley Allen.
And as the park fell into disarray, the town of Osage has followed.
‘The town has gone way down, I mean, it's a shame to look around at all these houses, people's yards and everything. It's a shame, because this was a beautiful little town,' Shirley added.
Residents fault the Corps of Engineers for giving up on the park.
‘The park was originally put in, as a number of parks were, to provide recreation. Over the years through a series of budget reductions that park as well as a number of parks similar to it have had to be closed in terms of major recreation,' said Army Corps of Engineers manager Kent Dunlap.
The Corps of Engineers rely mostly on volunteers to maintain the area, and with little money for improvements they have let the area return to...
‘...what we call an access area, which basically means it's a road, a boat ramp and a parking area, so at the least people can still access the lake in those areas,' said Kent.
‘Makes me feel bad because all the little old people that used to live here and helped keep it up, helped keep the town up, and now it's just gone to trash,' said Shirley.