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Downed tree damages historic park attraction

A little part of Brookhaven history perished Monday night when astorm system pushed through the area.

Exchange Club member Harold Gary said a 100-year-old virgin pinetree fell during the night on a couple of the kiddie rides at thepark. The tree damaged two rides, the kiddie merry-go-round and thekiddie cars, as well as the fencing around the rides and thecovering over the car ride.

“(Founding club member Charles) ‘Plootchie’ Ratliff’s daddy madethe cover for the kiddie cars,” Gary said. “It was totallydemolished.”

Several of the cars can be salvaged, Gary added, but the loss ofthe covering is particularly sad.

“The covering was sentimental to the park,” he said.

The metal cover was painstakingly created by Ratliff’s father inthe late 1950s or early 1960s, Gary said. It was unusual in that itwas circular in shape, unlike other metal coverings that tend to besquare, Gary said.

The Ratliffs operated a sheet metal operation in Brookhaven.

Gary said the covering had been repainted and spruced up thispast year.

The kiddie merry-go-round received minor damage, said Gary.

The brightly colored rides are popular attractions with smallchildren each fall when the Exchange Club Fair opens the park tovisitors.

Gary said this morning members were surveying the damage at thepark and had made plans to remove the tree.

Around Brookhaven and Lincoln County, no major damage orinjuries were reported, said Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey.Only one tree was reported down the in the county.

Aside the tree down at the Exchange Club Park, AssistantBrookhaven Police Chief Nolan Jones said nothing major was reportedin the city.

Wesson Volunteer Fire Department Captain Dustin Brewer saidseveral trees were down on Highway 51 around Wesson. Brewer saidunits were out from 3:30 a.m. until around 6 a.m. today.