Prairieburg raising funds to rebuild park destroyed by tornado - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Prairieburg raising funds to rebuild park destroyed by tornado

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LINN COUNTY (KWWL) -

Members of the Prairieburg community are hoping to rebuild the town's park after it was destroyed by a tornado.

Baker Community Park was established in 1987 and was made possible by countless volunteers who helped build it. It's the only park in the small community.

An EF-2 tornado destroyed not only the park, but people's homes and businesses when it ripped through town on June 28.

Prairieburg Mayor, Arlene Holub, said the space is where many of the town's events take place such as graduation parties and outdoor weddings.

"It's just a hub of everything," Holub said.

The pavilion that held the events was leveled and its playground across the street was reduced to a pile of sand.

"Even now, all the kids will go down there and they just kind of stand around. They used to play there and now there ain't nothing there," Joe Nagal said.

Nagal's family business, Nagal Grain, Inc., was also destroyed by the tornado. What remains of the business sits right behind what remains of the park. Nagal said he was also sad to see the park go, a park that his father helped start and helped build.

"Oh god, yeah, because everybody around this town, not just my family, but there's a lot of families in this town that put a lot of effort and time back into this, making this thing work," he said.

A group in town called the Good Ole' Boys are responsible for maintaining and running the park. Jason Russell, one of its members, said he has memories of the park as a young boy.

 "I remember helping build the pavilion and pour the cement and doing everything around and help with the events every Labor Day weekend."  Russell said.

Russell and other members of the community aim to raise funds to speed up the rebuilding process. A GoFundMe has raised nearly $1,000 of its $20,000 goal.

"I'd hope that we could at least get it back to its former glory or maybe even a little better," he said.

They hope to have the park rebuilt in time for the town's annual Labor Day tractor pull event on September 3 at 2 p.m.. If not, the event will still go on and a large tent that was donated was sit in its place.

Nagal said the tractor pull is an important community event which is way the park being returned to normal is an important feat.

"To just get that built to get back and keep this town on the map. Every time you lose something like that in a town, any town, you lose a lot. I don't care if it's a post office or a bar or gas station, whatever. You lose something. It's gone forever. The tractor pulls, the guys come from all over.,all over mid-Iowa and Illinois so it helps promote this town," he said.

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