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Flowers growing in tornado damaged neighborhood give sign of hope

A field of sunflowers now grows in a Little Rock neighborhood where recovery from the March tornado continues. Neighbors say that it's a sign of hope.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When you drive through the Walnut Valley neighborhood you can see clean up and rebuilding is still going on months after the March 31 EF3 tornado.

“It's really hard to see so many people displaced and fighting for the opportunity to rebuild their home,” said Treeca Dyer Cotton.

Cotton’s home along Shackleford and Cobble Hill was one of the many damaged on March 31.

“On my street alone, there were 18 houses. There are four left,” said Cotton.

Her home of 30 years couldn't be rebuilt so they had to tear it down and nothing but concrete is all that’s left.

“I bought the house that used to be right there in 1993,” said Cotton. “The sense of roots and belonging there. They're all gone in an instant.”

Across from where her home once was, there grows a sign of hope -- sunflowers.

“I looked at it and I thought, this is Van Gogh’s dream, the sunflower field,” said Cotton.

The sunflowers are gaining attention from people like Kristen Sides whose home was also damaged in the neighborhood.

“We live in another part of town now, but we like to drive back and see what's going on in our neighborhood and so when we pulled up and saw the sunflowers, I was just blown away,” said Sides.

Sides said the sight of flowers blooming here amid the rebuilding process brings a smile to her face.

“A piece of joy in the middle of disaster,” said Sides.

Cotton said no one really knows how these flowers got here but she has a hunch.

“We're guessing that somebody had bird feeders in their backyard, and those bird feeders got caught up in the tornado, and the seed was planted or strewn around all over this area,” said Cotton.

Although they're not entirely sure she's just happy that these flowers can represent the growth that awaits as recovery continues.

“It is very encouraging. It says that 'yeah, life will come back,'” said Cotton.


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