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Monday, September 22, 2014, 5:37 p.m.
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Mayflower mayor says city making progress

By Tammy Keith

This article was published May 11, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

MAYFLOWER — Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland said Thursday the city is “starting to get halfway back to normal” after a tornado that killed three people and injured many others.

Holland said 160 homes and 16 businesses were damaged or destroyed in the city of 2,234 residents when the tornado came through the community the night of April 27.

“Lumber One is up and running, and that’s real important for what we need to do,” he said. “H and B Hardware — they’re going to build back. The whole building is … warped, so they’ll have to take it to the ground and build it.”

The mayor said cleanup of tornado debris is going well — “The county came down here” — and he was going Thursday to tour hard-hit Dam Road.

“They told me it looks a lot better,” he said.

Holland said he also will go to The River Plantation.

“I’m trying to work with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] and also the state agencies and some of the independents, like Exxon, Tyson, Walmart, to try to work a deal for a safe room,” Holland said.

In addition to the three deaths, he said 25 people were hospitalized.

Holland said the city owns a lot west of Sonic, and his idea is to move the courtroom to the new facility, which also would function as a safe room.

“I’m trying to get funding for that,” he said, adding that he doesn’t know how large the safe room would be.

Holland said having the Mayflower School District back in session has helped provide some normalcy for the city.

He said community spirit is strong, and he mentioned the benefit game between the Mayflower and Vilonia varsity baseball teams, held last week at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.

“It was one of those nights you could just feel it in the air. Everybody needed that relief; it was like steam,” he said.

“We’re both the Eagles — Mayflower and Vilonia — and as long as the Eagles won, we were all happy.”

Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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