The pride and joy of Brazil has been wounded. Forest Park suffered only minor structural damage but lost many of its majestic old trees during Wednesday afternoon's severe thunder storm.
According to Jesse Walker, News Channel 2 meteorologist, the macroburst storm had straight line winds up to 80 mph. He explained that air falls out of the storm creating circulation in the storm causing an uncommonly wider damage width. Funnel clouds were reported but none touched down. (See Walker's column, page 2).
Mayor Kenny Crabb surveyed the damage at Forest Park Thursday morning. At that time the trees downed by the storm had not been counted and it was too soon to determine the cost of the clean up or how long clean up would take.
"Thank goodness, Pike Lumber is bringing in some of their logging crews to do a lot of the clean up here in the park," Crabb said. "They're working along the roads and sidewalks today. The ground's still too wet to hold the heavy equipment. They don't want to damage the ground. Pike's volunteering their service free to the city."
Jim Steen, co-owner of Pike Lumber, said his company would take all timber salvaged to Craig Park to be sold. Most of the fallen trees were soft maple with a few walnut trees.
"If any of the trees are marketable," Steen said, "we will cut them into a marketable length before taking them to Craig Park. Then the city of Brazil can sell them.
The only noticeable structural damage was:
- To the roof of shelter number 12, just west of the playgrounds,
- A loose board on one of the small bridges,
- A split rail on one of the original pieces of wooden playground equipment and to the roof of the pavilion.
A glancing estimate of the number of lost trees in the park would be about 20-30. Crabb said,
Fortunately, the Park Board had begun a tree replacement project several years ago, Crabb said.
There were no known personal injuries in the park resulting from the storm.
"The good Lord has His way of doing things," Crabb said. "He brought this big tree down when no one was around to get hurt."
Glancing about at the fallen timbers and debris of limbs and leaves Crabb . "It'll take a little time but we'll have it back to normal. We've got a wedding in the gazebo this weekend and the Concert Band will be here Sunday night. There's nothing like the beauty of Forest Park anywhere else in the state. We'll get it fixed up and that beauty will remain."
Intern Megan Grey contributed to this article.