A favorite park in Muscle Shoals is still marked by flooding that forced it to close two months ago.
Crews are working to make Rockpile Park safe again and on Friday WZDX News got a look at the progress. Most of the debris has been cleared, but that was just phase one of three in the clean-up. The bathrooms and dock are still visibly messed up. Right when you enter the park you can see a playground slide on the opposite end of where the rest of the playground is.
Rockpile Park suffered more damage than any other TVA property in Alabama. It closed in February when the flooding took over.
“The water came up so high down here that this dock is floating and it was standing straight up,” said Derek South with Tennessee Valley Authority.
Fixing the boat ramp is their next step so that part of the park can open by early summer. On that side there’s still the slide from the other end of the park. Fixing the playground and the bathrooms is after that.
“The water heater was actually taken about a half mile down and put into the trees down by the boat ramp,” said TVA’s Scott Fiedler, standing by the restrooms. “So tremendous amount of water coming through this facility and just scoured out the bathrooms, the dirt, topsoil. Around the trees it’s all the way down to the roots.”
The water went up about seven feet on the rock wall close to the dam and even created this new hole in it.
“You come through and you think it’s okay, but you start looking at things, you get some specialists in,” South said. “We’re not playground builders by any means so we had to get them lined up, meet them up here. The bathroom’s the same way, it looks okay. But once we had an engineer come out and look at it, it’s got a lot of damage, a lot of structural damage.”
Between Rockpile and TVA’s Pickwick property in Tennessee, it adds up to $1.5 million worth of damage. TVA pays for the clean-up with money from their power sales.
“A lot of people want to come down and just kind of look at the damage for themselves,” South said. “We really ask people to please stay out because we’ve got work going on. When we drove in you saw them removing a tree. It’s just not very safe.”
TVA workers ask for your patience while they make Rockpile Park safe again.
They’re hoping to have the boat ramp and that part of the park open by early summer and then complete the road work and playground to open the rest of the park by late summer.
Below, see some “before” pictures taken by TVA officials.