GIFFORD – A new park will help this community remember its past – and it comes with a unique twist.
It doesn’t take much for Donna Bruns to go back to November 2013 when a tornado ripped through town.
“To come out and see the devastation in my backyard was just – it was like looking at a little dollhouse that had been opened. The whole central part of town was just literally gone,” says Bruns.
Flash forward to now and she’s excited about what’s happening behind her – a welcome change from what she was looking at a few years ago.
“I’ve been watching it daily since it’s in my backyard, so I’ve watched all the concrete be poured, the dirt come in,” she says, “We have a lot of walkers in Gifford in the morning and there’s not really sidewalks for us to walk on so I think it’ll be real exciting for people to be able to go.”
The park is designed by Bill Malone. Malone has helped this area rebuild in other ways like planting trees throughout town.
He’s now working with the Tornado Relief Committee on the park, but the project came with a tough question: “How can we put something into the park that will always remind them of what happened and how wonderful the town has come back?” asked Malone.
His answer was this: “I designed a spiral shaped maze out of rock that’s going to go right next to the gazebo which will be pretty fun for the kids to play on … I designed all the paths so they’re curved.”
He’s shaping the park to look like the thing that shaped Gifford – reminding them of where they’ve been and how far they’ve come.
“This little town came together so much more. It’s a tight knit community anyway, but I think the tornado just drew people in a lot more in,” says Bruns.
“I think this community is going to be better than before it happened you know God has blessed them with wonderful things and I think it’s going to be good,” says Malone.
Malone says the park is paid for through the Tornado Relief fund and donations. The village will take care of it once construction is finished.
He says the park should be finished by spring. The gazebo is scheduled to go up in October.