Out of Order

Published 12:08 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

AHOSKIE – For the second time in less than three weeks, a major rain event has flooded the Ahoskie Creek Recreational Complex and Amphitheater.

However, unlike the first round of flooding, there is a great amount of work to be performed before the sprawling complex is able to reopen.

“It’s not just a drying out period this time around; there’s a lot of work that needs to be done there before it’s safe to reopen the park and the playground areas, to include the picnic shelters,” said Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond.

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Hammond informed members of the Ahoskie Town Council that the recreational complex will be closed “until further notice.”

“It will be closed for an extended period of time,” Hammond told the Council.

He added that floodwaters from the Ahoskie Creek were more substantial from Hurricane Matthew than from the remnants of Tropical Storm Julia that left the complex under water in late September.

“Once the water completely recedes and the ground dries out, we’ll be able go in and perform an assessment on the extent of the damages to the park’s infrastructure,” Hammond noted. “I feel 100 percent certain that the damage is worse now than it was back in September.”

Repairs made by the town after Tropical Storm Julia consisted mainly of fixing electrical outlets that were just above ground level. Hammond said the floodwater was higher because of Matthew’s heavy rainfall and that the electrical outlets higher off the ground – such as in those located at the amphitheater and the two picnic shelters – would have to be torn out and replaced.

There was also damage this time around to a public bathroom at the complex.

Hammond said he needs to contact individuals that have rented the amphitheater for upcoming events of the closure.

“They’ll need to reschedule those events,” he said.

Ironically, the existence of what is now the Ahoskie Creek Recreational Complex and Amphitheater came after a FEMA buy-out of a neighborhood that once stood on Lakeview Drive and Edgewood Circle. That area was totally under water following Hurricane Floyd and impacted again a few years later by another tropical system.

After the buy-out, the town of Ahoskie along with the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation invested millions of dollars to build the complex.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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