HERNANDO, Miss. — Recent heavy rain is being blamed for some serious damage to a DeSoto County park.

The normally busy and welcoming Conger Park in Hernando is now empty and surrounded by caution tape. Jared Barkley, the parks director, said a large tree split in half and fell on a playground Friday evening during a downpour. 

“It could have been catastrophic. These are just things. You know these things can be fixed,” Barkley said. “Nobody was injured, you know we thank the lord for that.”

The impressive playground was remodeled in recent years.

“It’s a great playground, it’s a gem to the community, especially this time of year, school field trips. You know once a week we will have several hundred kids out here. Not just from Hernando but also Horn Lake, Walls, Lake Cormorant,” Barkley said.

We were there as crews examined the tree. While the damage is disappointing, Barkley believes it’s also a rallying point for the community. 

“That’s just part of being in Hernando. There’s just a lot of community pride in what we have so we’re sure that we’ll rally around this point again and support the rebuild for it,” he said. “Right now, we’re just in the clean up phase.

Barkley believes the park will be closed for at least the next few weeks as the damage is cleaned up. He said it’s unclear how much repairs will cost.