PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – The National Weather Service is reporting that a weak tornado did touch down about 4 miles east of Paragould city limits on Monday. The tornado was only on the ground for a few minutes and the only damage from the twister is in a three mile stretch.
In the city, damage from winds associated with that storm brought a mural in the downtown area crashing down. The mural that has been a part of the city for several decades has been badly damaged twice.
The mural was funded back in the 1980's and the 1990's by private citizens. School children helped raise pennyies to pay for it. The mural has served the city well by helping bring tourists into town who want to take a look at depiction of early life in Paragould.
"It's always just been a marker of downtown. Everybody that has been in Paragould has been down to see the mural," said Gina Jarrett, Director of Main Street Downtown Paragould.
The mural was first started in 1980 and finished thirteen years later. Over the years it has drawn people to the downtown area.
"Every time I've walked out of my office or looked out my east window since it's fallen someone is in that parking lot between the tracks looking or taking pictures," said Jarrett.
"Certainly a lot of people come to our community to look at it and it's been something that people have just been amazed at," said Paragould Mayor Mike Gaskill.
The mural was funded privately and painted on a privately owned building. Gaskill said it's a loss to the city because of the people it brings in and the historical value but it is not owned by the city.
"It's sad to see what's happened to it happen to it but it has really just fallen out of the city's hands to do anything about it so I don't know what the future of it is," said Gaskill.
Jarrett said the mural is on the scenic byways tour and that does bring visitors downtown. With the scene now distorted by broken walls and crumbling bricks many say when this scene is gone from their city a piece of their history will go with it.
"It was put on a very old building to start with and now this is what happens to old buildings sometimes," said Gaskill.