Improvements planned after damage to Buck Creek facilities

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

HELENA – Following a string of storms that hit the Buck Creek and Old Town Helena areas, equipment and facilities that are used for events there are damaged and need to be repaired.

According to Helena City Councilmember Hewy Woodman, the tornado in March significantly damaged the roof of the shed that is used for events there, and the flooding that just happened further destroyed items that are necessary for the city’s farmers market.

“The shed’s roof was significantly damaged and there was buckling in the walls,” Woodman said. “It has only gotten worse. After the flood some water got in there. We had a lot of the items that we use for the farmer’s market damaged like napkins, the grill, our icemaker and the stereo equipment. It was all ruined in the flooding.”

With the Helena Market Days fast approaching, there is an immediate need to have these items replaced. Woodman also acts as the council liaison for the event, and asked the city council to approve funding to begin the replacement process.

“The city ended up approving up to $3,000 to replacing the equipment that we use,” he explained. “We are also going to start doing research on the shed so that we can give them a price to have that replaced soon. We have to have this equipment ready for the market.”

This is just a first step, however, as the destruction that the tornadoes brought to the area will take years of work to repair. Woodman said that he had met with representatives from the Alabama Urban Forestry Association who did a walk through to survey the area.

“Going forward, they will suggest on what types of trees we need to plant. They know a lot more about what trees would best survive there than anyone else,” Woodman said. “Some of our trees were twisted or otherwise damaged by the tornado and may not survive. We want them to identify trees that are dangerous so we can know how to move forward. We may end up asking for assistance for trees that are in immediate danger.”

The arborists will come back with recommendations and the city will use that to create a long-term plan to restore the park.

“We will probably reach out to the community to see how the will respond to our plans,” Woodman said. “There are some trees that grow pretty quickly that we could go ahead and plant to prevent further erosion. Then we will look into long-term trees to eventually restore the park in the future.”