Burns Park in North Little Rock closed due to extensive tornado damage, along with two Little Rock parks
, 2023-04-05 04:56:25,
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Burns Park, North Little Rock’s iconic and rambling multipurpose park, is closed for the foreseeable future, a victim of Friday’s tornado, Mayor Terry Hartwick said Tuesday.
Every area of the 1,700-acre park — the soccer fields, tennis courts, disc golf courses, amusement park, baseball fields and the new fire station — sustained damage from the storm, he said, adding that an estimated 10,000 trees were destroyed in the park by Friday’s tornado.
In Little Rock, Reservoir Park suffered extensive damage and is closed, as is Murray Park, city parks director Leland Couch said.
The damage at Burns Park is extensive, Hartwick said.
“It’s some [areas] more than others, but everything is affected.” Hartwick said. “We’ve actually just stopped working Burns Park as far as bringing people in here from jogging trails to the bike trails, everything, just stop it because as you can see, we’ve got a whole lot of work to do, without a doubt.
“I have to close the whole park if you think about it because everybody gets in and they want to see this so you start congregating. … So there’s areas in our park that we were going to have to open slowly,” Hartwick said.
He noted that the public does not “have any idea” of the extent of the damage until they see it in person.
“You cannot even begin to count the trees and everything,” he explained. “So we’re working the problem. We’re working the problem.”
Uprooted trees, split down the middle and torn off at the top can be seen for miles throughout the park.
Parks and recreation director Steve Shields said he has visited the park several times since the reported EF3 tornado tore through it.
“I have heard from many different people [who are] concerned about Burns Park and anxious to get back out there,” he said. “We’ve had so many volunteers that have reached out to us to help in many different ways. Right now we just have to keep it closed, from a safety standpoint, but we look forward to getting it back to where people in North Little Rock, Central Arkansas, so many people from outside of Central Arkansas and outside of our state come and utilize Burns Park.”
Shields said the park is “an integral part” of the city and has been for many years.
“I run across people all the time who went to Fun Land when they were kids and they’re 55 years old right now,” Shields said. “This is such a tight-knit community, North Little Rock is, and there’s so many things that go on inside of Burns Park.”
He pointed out the…
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