- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

VILONIA, Ark. (AP) - More than 100 volunteers turned out to rebuild Vilonia’s city park, which was destroyed when a powerful tornado rolled through the community last April.

Children contributed ideas for the new park, which includes monkey bars, tetherball, a new-age merry-go-round and a twisting slide.

“Some of them had very elaborate artwork,” City Clerk Kelly Lawrence told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1DzRGdH ) during Saturday’s construction.

Some children wanted a swimming pool and a dog park.

“They might not get everything they wanted,” Mayor James Firestone said, “but I think they’ll be very happy.”

The park replaces one wiped out last April 27 by a tornado rated EF4 on a scale of tornado damage. The park will be dedicated as a memorial to the 16 people killed by the storm, including 11 in Vilonia.

Kimberly-Clark Corp., a paper products company with plants in central Arkansas, donated up to $200,000 while the nonprofit Kaboom, which has helped build parks nationwide, supplied materials.

The park, on Cemetery Street, will eventually include five baseball fields that also were destroyed in last year’s tornado. They will be rebuilt using money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and insurance. Softball and soccer fields are also planned, using bond money approved before the storm.

Stevie Patrum, a 51-year-old Vilonia resident, hauled mulch on a blue plastic sheet to the park with Harley Rea, the 16-year-old daughter of her co-worker. Patrum has built parks before with Kaboom.

“Playgrounds and libraries, man, that’s what we need,” she said.

Firefighter Harold Myers, 53, had birthday parties for his grandchildren at the park before it was destroyed.

“They’ll be tickled to have it back,” he said.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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