KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Behind a big rock formation is a cave, one that used to be open to the public, but the city sealed it off. No one's been in it for decades, but over the winter, someone broke through the concrete seal illegally, now local cave explorers want to know what's in there.
Roanoke Park's secrets hold a certain appeal to some.
“Kansas City, Missouri doesn't have a lot of caves,” cave explorer Jim Cooley said.
Cooley has been exploring and mapping Missouri’s caverns for decades.
“It's the last frontier you can get to in a car,” Cooley said.
But this is one cave he's been perfectly content not to set foot in, even though he lives just a few blocks away.
“This is a dumb cave to get into. It's full of water, there's no formations, it's full of E. coli,” Cooley said.
It used to be a popular spot for locals who wanted to explore. Even though the city sealed it off at least 40 years ago, it's captured a lot of imaginations.
“Roanoke Park’s cave's is one of those tall urban tales,” cave explorer Jaclyn Danger said.
Danger is another cave explorer in the neighborhood, one who noticed the cracks forming over the winter as vandals chipped away at the concrete.
“The cracks kept getting bigger and bigger,” Danger said.
Now that it's open, she knows a few people who have snuck a peek inside.
“My friend went in. It sounds like a hell of a muddy good time,” Danger said.
The city is telling people to stay out, so KCTV5 News rigged up a small camera on a pole to peer inside. It is full of water and mud, maybe 30 feet of cavern space above.
“If you wall it up like this you destroy the bat habitat,” Cooley said.
Cooley does see a learning opportunity here, he's asking the city to repair it with a special gate to allow bats to fly in and out, to educate people about an important ecosystem, the right way.
“There are better, more organized ways to see things than breaking into city property,” Cooley said.
The parks department said they have surveyed the inside of the cave and they do plan to seal it up with a bat gate once the weather warms up. Until then, they're warning people to stay out.