Parks derecho recovery ongoing
Marshall County parks are still picking up pieces from the Aug. 10 derecho.
The storm knocked down or damaged more than 50 percent of the trees in Riverview Park and closed down the majority of Marshall County’s parks.
“All 22 city parks saw damage, at least a tree down or branches on the ground,” Marshalltown Parks Director Geoff Hubbard, Marshalltown said.
Most of the facilities, like rental buildings and playground equipment were not damaged.
“The parks staff spent the first three weeks helping remove debris from people’s curbs along with the street department staff,” Hubbard said. “We were able to get the rental buildings up and running the week after the derecho and just finished mowing Riverview Park for the first time since the storm. It is going slow but we are making progress every day.”
The loading dock at Sand Lake was destroyed by the derecho.
So far Grimes Farm, Linn Creek Recreation Trail, Green Castle and Timmons Grove are the only Marshall County parks that have reopened.
“We have mobilized Grammer Grove just this week and started working up there,”
Marshall County Conservation Director Mike Stegmann said. “With the hopes of getting that cleared in the next couple weeks.”
The initial Marshall County clean up efforts have focused on the large debris. They are also relying on volunteers to go in on their own after an area has been reopened to pick up small debris.
“Many hands make light work,” Stegmann said.
People should feel free to make debris piles that he and other conservation workers will pick up.
“It’s a slow process, but we’re in a rhythm now,” Stegmann said.
In Marshalltown, Riverview and Anson parks were hit the worst because of the amount of trees that were in the boundaries.
“The campground and dog park were also heavily damaged and not open at this time,” Hubbard said. “We have hired a contractor to take down dangerous branches on the terrace trees and also clean up the parks. They started this week on Riverview and have already cleaned up Arnolds, Kiwanis, Anson and Mega-10 parks.”
The clean-up for Marshall County and Marshalltown parks will most likely take months to complete.
“We will be getting some help from the street department in the way of equipment and manpower in the next couple of weeks so hope to clean up some of the smaller damaged parks so they can get open and be safe for people to use,” Hubbard said.
There is not a set cost estimate for the clean-up for either the city or the county parks.
“I know it will be several hundred thousand dollars of labor and equipment when all is said and done,” Hubbard said.
The city hopes to slowly replant the lost trees.
“Just like after the tornado we will develop a plan to replant the trees over many years,” Hubbard said. “You don’t want to plant them all at the same time or they will all end up dying around the same time so we will be spreading it out over the next 10 years most likely.”
Contact Thomas Nelson at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org