Tornadoes on April 27, 2011 demolished the Harvest Youth Club playground and petting zoo. Madison Rotarians rebuilt the playground last fall and, along with the Harvest Youth Center, dedicated the site on May 8.
“In the small community of Harvest Meadows, 80 out of 103 homes were affected in one way or another. Approximately 40 were completely destroyed,” project manager and president-elect Steve Baum said.
Few residents were insured. Those with insurance were underinsured.
Carla Daily, who was then Rotary president, “reconnected with high school friend Melvin Allen, center director of the Harvest Youth Club,” Rotarian Dennis Sanders said. “Carla invited Melvin to visit our club and give a presentation on the damage … and the needs that the Harvest club and community had in recovering from this disaster.”
Allen promoted rebuilding because a playground is a rallying point for the community and offers fun to children from two to 15 years old. Having a playground is a huge encouragement to youth and a source of witness for good in the Harvest community, Allen said.
The playground structure cost was $10,250, with 42 landscape timbers at $882, stakes at $193.50 and ‘woodcarpet’ safety surface at $1,165.75.
To rebuild, the youth club collected private donations of about $2,400. Madison Rotary asked the Rotary District 6860 for a $5,125 matching grant from the “Alabama Tornado Disaster Donor Advised Fund.” The Madison club contributed the remaining $5,125. We also spent a day with our “boots on the ground” rebuilding the playground.