Iowa community raising money to repair tornado-damaged park

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PRAIRIEBURG, Iowa (AP) — Residents of a city in eastern Iowa are raising money to repair a city park destroyed by a tornado that ripped through the community last month.

Nonprofit Good Ole' Boys maintains and runs the Baker Community Park in Prairieburg, KWWL-TV ( ) reported. The group has started a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to help the rebuilding process and has raised about $1,200 of its $20,000 goal as of Tuesday.

"I'd hope that we could at least get it back to its former glory or maybe even a little better," said Jason Russell, a member of the group.

Mayor Arlene Holub said the park is used for many events, including graduation parties and outdoor weddings.

"It's just a hub of everything," Holub said.

Residents want the park rebuilt by Labor Day in time for the city's annual tractor pull.

The EF2 tornado that destroyed the park on June 28 also damaged nearby homes and businesses. Tornado strength is measured by an enhanced F-scale rating that considers 28 different types of damage to structures and trees. A significant tornado is considered an EF2 or higher.

Joe Nagal's family business, Nagal Grain, Inc., sits behind the park and was also destroyed by the tornado. He said it's important for the town to rebuild the park and stay on the map.

"Every time you lose something like that in a town, any town, you lose a lot," he said. "I don't care if it's a post office or a bar or gas station, whatever. You lose something. It's gone forever. The tractor pulls, the guys come from all over, all over mid-Iowa and Illinois so it helps promote this town."