Washington continues to rebuild six months after devastation

Saturday, May 17, 2014 marked the six month anniversary of the tornado that killed two people and destroyed hundreds of homes in Washington, Illinois.

Now, while houses are being rebuilt, volunteers are working to restore a little normalcy to their town.

After the tornado ripped through the town, emergency responders had to park their vehicles in Harry LaHood Park. Locals said there was probably about one hundred vehicles parked in the grass of the park, leaving behind oil and transmission fluid, and completely ruining the park.

“The big debris was picked up by volunteers that came through and they raked and got everything they could,” said Jim Bremner, the Commissioner for the Washington Park District. “[But] there’s still a lot of stuff that’s caught up in the sod in the grasses that we just can’t get out.”

Click here for full coverage of the tornado in Washington, Illinois.

On Saturday, volunteers from neighboring rotary clubs worked all day tearing out the old grass in the park, making way for new sod.

Bremner estimates the cost of the new park will be around $250,000; that includes new grass, storm shelter restrooms, and playground equipment.

“All of the grass here, whether it be the homeowners’ or even the park’s, that’s not covered by insurance. So this really cost us a ton to be able to do and that’s why we’re looking for volunteers to help us keep our cost down,” said Bremner.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating money, you can contact the Washington Park District through their website.

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