Greensboro group replaces trees in park damaged by tornado

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- There was a time when you couldn't see the playground through the forest.

But after the April 2018 Greensboro tornado, Greensboro Beautiful volunteer Randal Romie said the storm changed the landscape.

"It was really bad. Trees were blown over and they couldn't be saved," Romie said.

Matt Hicks is a supervisor with the City of Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department. He described what he saw as crews removed tornado damaged trees from Kings Forest Park.

"You might can imagine. It was like a bunch of match sticks that were broken in half and thrown into a pile together," Hicks said. "It was just really a mess."

It took time to clean up the park at Phillips Avenue and Larchmont Drive. Now Kings Forest Park is ready for a comeback.

Greensboro Beautiful manages a program called Neighborwoods.

The community service partnership brings the city of Greensboro and volunteers together so they can replace damaged trees.

200 volunteers and homeowners living near Kings Forest Park participated and planted over 120 trees.

Daniel McDonald owns a home across the street from Kings Forest Park. Volunteers placed two trees in his yard.

"What it's replacing is the magnolia tree that was as tall as the one across the street," McDonald said.

Several volunteers from service organizations and corporations worked alongside homeowners. Romie feels the tree planting helped the park and community heal wounds left behind by the tornado.

"To put the trees back was a good way to restore the neighborhood," Romie said. "A positive first step and not have it look so bad because the landscape changed overnight."

McDonald agreed. He believes they enhanced the landscape.

"They got the small, younger trees that will make it a nicer place," McDonald said.

Next, the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department wants to bring more people into Kings Forest Park.

Currently, neighbors can only walk around the six-acre park and stop at the playground and basketball court.

Hicks said the Parks and Recreation Department is listening to homeowners and making note of ideas on how to make Kings Forest Park more accessible.

"A lot of ideas have involved anything from trails to benches to picnic tables. The idea is to get people off of the sidewalk and into the park," Hicks said. "It's an active park in terms of walkers, but we want people to engage and get in here with nature."

Kings Forest Park homeowners can still send emails or call the City of Greensboro at (336) 373-CITY to leave their ideas for park enhancements.

Along with donations, Greensboro Beautiful even received a national grant from Keep America Beautiful to help plant new trees in Kings Forest Park.

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