Multimedia Journalist

Eldon parks damaged in storm

News Tribune/Danisha Hogue
Uprooted trees and limbs were laid on playground equipment at Rock Island Park in Eldon on Thursday, May 23, 2019, due to an EF-3 tornado.

Minutes after an EF-3 tornado hit the city Wednesday night, Eldon Parks and Recreation Director Michael Brandt rushed to open the Community Center tornado shelter.

The building at 309 E. Second St. is currently operating as the American Red Cross shelter.

On Thursday night, 14 community members sought shelter at the Eldon Community Center and nine stayed at the Eldon Upper Elementary School Early Learning Center tornado room.

The Red Cross closed the tornado room Friday.

As the city assesses damages, three of the four city parks were confirmed to be closed. Damages included uprooted trees, pavilion, playground equipment and bleachers.

Apperson Park is located on the south side of town off Chestnut Street. Two ball fields and playground equipment were damaged and are closed until further notice.

Rock Island Park near Business 54 also will remain closed. Many trees were uprooted, and the pavilion was ripped apart.

“A lot of cleanup work, a lot of debris, a lot of trees down,” Brandt said. “It’s just a matter of going in and making sure there’s no nails anywhere and the parks are safe.”

Wilson Park off South Grand is currently under renovations for the summer. The park will be back open when a tree and debris are cleared from the area.

“Luckily none of the new equipment was touched,” Brandt said.

The Eldon Aquatic Center will open on schedule today for Memorial Day weekend.

Ward 3 Alderman Derek Nelson said the community has unified after the disaster.

“It’s a pleasure to see the citizens have come together and are helping each other,” Nelson said.

Eldon Superintendent Matt Davis said several athletes and organizations worked Friday to assist where they could.

Community members interested in volunteering may call 573-392-2156 to sign up. The public is being asked to hold off on clothing donations.

Food and monetary donations are being accepted on site. Those in need should contact the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

Ameren Missouri spokesperson Erin Davis said crews were in the area early Thursday as part of efforts to restore electrical service to residents. Power was expected to be restored by Friday night.

“The damage in Eldon in terms of infrastructure was not as severe as the infrastructure damage in Jefferson City,” Davis said.

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