, Muskogee, OK

June 14, 2013

Moore works to repair park ruined by tornado

Associated Press

— MOORE, Okla.— Residents in Moore are working to rebuild the Veterans Memorial Park after last month's deadly tornado destroyed a playground, pavilion and other facilities.

Among the damaged items were four wooden sculptures, carved from trees that once stood in the park. The four wooden sculptures depict soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Norman Transcript reported Friday that the sculptures have been sent back to artist Clayton Coss, who works with a chain saw, for repairs. The tornado ripped two of the sculptures from their mountings and broke off three of the four statues' rifles.

"I'm going to try to turn it around in two weeks, but re-carving rifles takes quite a bit of work," Coss said.

The city is using insurance money to rebuild the park, Assistant City Manager Stan Drake said. First up, workers must clear debris and repair the walking trail, he said.

"(The trail) was very popular, so we're trying to fix it so they can use it again," he said.

Once the trail is accessible again, Moore residents will be able to use it while the city works to repair and reconstruct the rest of the park, Drake said.

The rebuilt park will include a new playground, fencing, bathrooms and a pavilion as well as some features the park didn't have before, Drake said.

The EF5 tornado swept through Moore on May 20, killing 24 people and destroying neighborhoods and businesses