Old park, damaged by tornado, reopens in Cordova
by Jennifer Cohron
Apr 01, 2012 | 1671 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cordova ballpark, destroyed by tornado almost a year ago, reopened. FEMA released funds to rebuilt the park, but funds for the downtown area remain stalled.Photo by: James Phillips
The Cordova ballpark, destroyed by tornado almost a year ago, reopened. FEMA released funds to rebuilt the park, but funds for the downtown area remain stalled.Photo by: James Phillips
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CORDOVA —The Old Park that was destroyed in the April 27 tornadoes has reopened just in time for the start of ball season.

The park is used by nearly a dozen local youth athletic teams and also hosts community events such as Blue Devil Day.

Mayor Jack Scott said he has received several compliments on the two new fields, which are 10 to 15 feet larger than the ones they replaced and have been reoriented.

“I’ve heard so many people bragging on that ball park. Even the kids are saying, ‘Wow!’ That’s what it’s all about because they’re the future,” Scott said.

However, some Cordova residents are questioning why the park project seemed to take priority over downtown improvements.

Scott said the park could be rebuilt because FEMA released funds for it, but the agency has not yet signed off on downtown demolition.

That proposal is currently on hold while the city works out an agreement with FEMA and the State Historic Preservation Office. The loss of history has been cited as an “adverse effect,” and deputy state historic preservation officer Elizabeth Brown has recommended that three of the buildings be saved.

Scott said FEMA funding was available for 75 percent of the the park project. He estimated that the cost to the city would run between $15,000 and $20,000.

Site preparation began at the park last fall and continued through the rainy season.

Much of the work was done by city employees, although contractors were hired to install stadium lights and fencing as well as to rebuild the concession stand that once served as a pool house.

Scott said future plans for the park including adding playground equipment and replacing the skate park, which was popular among local teens and had been open less than a year when it was destroyed on April 27.

He added that the ball fields are important to the city because they help keep local youth active and out of trouble.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is that when kids are at this park, they don’t get in trouble. It’s when they leave here. So we’re doing the right thing to help our kids,” Scott said.