SHEFFIELD — As he surveyed the damage at Riverfront Park, Parks and Recreation Department Director Ricky Canup said it could have been a lot worse.

It also could have been a lot better, he said, looking at the relatively new pier at the boat launch that was shifted off its support pilings.

The ramp leading to the pier from the boat ramp was underwater, and the other two access bridges were in the water because the intense flooding pulled them loose from the pier.

Canup said a local marine services contractor estimates it will cost about $22,000 to repair the pier, which is used by boaters and anglers to tie off their boats while parking their vehicles and trailers.

Much of the park was under water after the Tennessee River rose over its banks near the end of February and caused historic flooding throughout the Shoals.

The rising river rose dangerously close to the doors of Cypress Moon Productions on Alabama Avenue, which occupies the second location of the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound Studio.

Friends and fans helped owner Tonya Holly place sandbags around the building in case the river rose higher. 

Wastewater bubbled out of sanitary sewer manhole covers on Alabama Avenue, as they did in several locations around the Shoals.

On Friday, water was still standing in some parts of the park, and washed out areas were becoming more visible.

Water washed through the boundless playground with such force it bent the metal support posts of a small climbing wall. Canup said it would cost $12,000 to replace that piece of equipment.

While he hasn't calculated all the losses at Riverfront Park, Canup is already looking at about $40,000 in damages.

There were also garbage cans that washed away, some costing about $300 each. 

While there is a soft, rubberized surface beneath the playground equipment, some 4 inches of mulch was washed out of some landscaped areas that border the playground. 

The restrooms at Riverfront Park flooded, and Canup said a toilet must be replaced.

The splash pad near the playground was covered by floodwater, but Canup hasn't been able to test it to see if any water nozzles are clogged with mud because Sheffield Utilities was repairing a waterline that serves the park.

There is a stage at the end of the park, but it had not been checked for damage, or to see if the electrical outlets that provide power for musical performances were damaged by the high water. 

"Everything else seems to be in pretty decent shape," Canup said.

He said there were other city parks impacted by the flooding, even though they are miles from the Tennessee River.

Both the ball fields at the Ollie Harris complex near Town Plaza Shopping Center, and the Kirk Jones complex on Blackwell Road were impacted by runoff.

Canup said one of the two fields at the Kirk Jones complex was underwater, and a metal trash container floated up against the fence that surrounds the ball field. If not for the fence, the trash container would have ended up on the field.

At the Ollie Harris complex, water entered the concession stand where a floating ice machine punched a hole in the ceiling. Soft drink dispensing machines were damaged, but Canup said the vendor that provides the machines will replace them.

"I've never seen Ollie Harris under water," Canup said. "The majority of my damage was at Riverfront Park and the Ollie Harris softball field."

Some split rail fencing was damaged at Rivermont Park along Spring Creek. Avalon Park on Avalon Avenue simply filled with water as it frequently does, Canup said.

Mayor Ian Sanford said there was also a spot on Alabama Avenue where fast water flowing through a drainage ditch undercut the edge of the roadway.

"It washed away a lot of the bank, and it's starting to undermine the shoulder of the road," Sanford said. "It wasn't as bad before."

He said runoff in a ditch along Blackwell Road also began washing away the edge of the roadway, but it was a segment of the road that's located in Tuscumbia.

Public Safety Director Dewey King said a preliminary estimate of the city's losses is $150,000 to $200,000. That includes the damages in the parks, overtime costs, debris cleanup costs and other unspecified losses. He said the amount could increase.

King said the city is self insured. 

City Clerk Clayton Kelly said the damage estimates will be turned over to the Colbert County Emergency Management Agency, which will turn the estimates over to the State Emergency Management Agency. Local governments continue to gather damage estimates for losses that were not covered by insurance.

The state has to meet a $7.2 million damage threshold to be eligible for a federal disaster declaration.

russ.corey@timesdaily.com

or 256-740-5738. Twitter

@TD_.RussCorey

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