Lufkin tornado rips ballpark complex beyond recognition

Photos by Holley Nees.
Photos by Holley Nees.

By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - From the pitcher's mound, the devastation to Lufkin's Kit McConnico Park is clear.

"One of my guys called me from the Parks and Rec. Department about 6 a.m. Christmas Eve and he had come out here to assess damage and check things and told me that I needed to get out here, that it was pretty bad," said Steve Floyd, Lufkin director of public works.

However, crushed cement columns and steel light poles bent in half are only part of the problem.

"The first concession stand and restroom is for the most part gone," Floyd said. "The real nice concession stand, the roof is off of it. The building had some structure damage. It's going to be considerable to get this repaired."

Floyd said it will take a long time and a lot of work before kids will be able to come back.

"It's aggravating, but it's just part of it," Floyd said. "We'll work around it."

The park is insured, so now the city is just waiting for an estimate.

"We'll definitely get the park back in operation," Floyd said. "We have a good crew in the Parks and Rec. Department. They're sitting on go, waiting on word from the insurance company and as soon as we get a green light we will get this park back in order."

It will take thousands of dollars to clean up the last place the E-F3 tornado touched down.

"It's interesting all the damage was in the city," Floyd said. "There was no county damage. It started just inside the loop and finished just outside the loop."

He says even for this tornado, timing is everything.

"This was a good time for something like this to happen," Floyd said. "Soccer just completed a few weeks ago and we're between softball seasons, so there's really not a lot going on."

There are still hundreds of East Texans that won't come here, at least until the debris is gone and there's a place to play.

"The gate is closed, there's a sign on it until further notice," Floyd said.

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