DESOTO (CBSDFW) – From twisted bleachers to mangled score boards, remnants of the December 26th tornado are still very visible at Meadow Creek Park in DeSoto.
The significant damage to the fields, is a lot harder to spot. Powerful winds sent construction debris from nearby homes flying.
It means construction debris like roofing nails, staples, and screws are now embedded in the fields.
Two weeks into the clean up process, an industrial magnet has helped fill a box full of the dangerous materials removed from the ground.
Only 5% of the field has been tackled so far.
The hidden danger has forced the city to close the football fields for the entire season. The cleanup is displacing about 1,000 children who play football at Meadow Creek Park.
“The weekend the tornado hit, we had a tournament scheduled here, that particular weekend. We had to scrounge around and find another place for that tournament to take place,” said Chris Glover, Recreation Manager for the DeSoto Parks Department.
Officials expect the park to be ready for use by the 2017 football season. They have to ensure the fields are safe before children are allowed back.
“The process involves scalping the fields, verticutting them, running a magnet through them, and vacuuming the debris,” says Phil Lozano, the assistant director for DeSoto Parks and Recreation Department.
The three phase process is costly. The city estimates it will add up to $1.2 million minimum. DeSoto plans to seek partial reimbursement from FEMA.
Still officials say there will be football in DeSoto, just not on Meadow Creek Park. For now, The DeSoto Youth Football League will play and practice at a number of DeSoto ISD facilities.
“All of that ambiance that comes with football in the state of Texas, we’re going to miss out on some of that, but when [the fields open] back up, I anticipate we’re going to have probably more participation,” said Glover.
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