joel kendrick 2018 4

Tuscumbia Parks and Recreation Department director Joel Kendrick at Spring Park. [JIM HANNON/TIMESDAILY]

TUSCUMBIA — It's been nearly five months since Spring Park was turned into a lake by nearly a foot of rain in February, and while numerous repairs have been made, there is still more to be done before everything is back to normal.

Officials have submitted hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

If the expenses are approved, Tuscumbia and other Colbert County cities would only receive 75 percent of their claims. The remainder must be covered by the city, but there is a chance the state EMA may cover another 12.5 percent.

"We've got a little ways to go," Parks and Recreation Department Director Joel Kendrick said of the claims process. "We have two main projects that are moving really slow. The others are moving pretty good."

While department employees got the train and roller coaster in Spring Park up and running, the popular carousel is still not working, Kendrick said. The splash pad at Spring Park has also been repaired.

"The carousel itself is kind of unique," Kendrick said. "We've set it up as its own project because it's unique."

The city also submitted a claim to replace the heavily damaged concession stand beside the carousel.

Damage estimates for Spring Park are about $300,000, but Kendrick said the actual amount could be less than that.

A contractor is still replacing electrical breaker boxes that had been submerged at Spring Park. That work has been completed between events, including the Helen Keller Festival.

"We had to go in and do some stuff before the Keller festival," he said. "Now we're doing some of the bigger stuff to get it done before the Oka Kapassa Festival coming up in September. Hopefully, before Oka Kapassa it will all be completed."

Kendrick said the Parks and Recreation Department submitted very little overtime to FEMA.

"We did a lot of it on straight time," he said. "We have put in some (overtime) but we tried to keep it to a minimum."

Engineer Brad Williams said he also submitted a report from a firm that took core samples from the roads in Spring Park and a portion of Cave Street that were under water for several days.

He said the report indicates the subgrade, which is below the asphalt and gravel base, was weakened by being underwater for so many days.

Public Works Director Bo Stanley said the other roads tested were portions of Frankfort Road, West 10th Street and Spring Park Road. 

He said that claim, which is estimated at $210,000, is still pending with FEMA.

Tuscumbia Utilities General Manager Jeff McDonald said he turned about $30,000 in claims, most of which was for overtime.

"We ended up manning the wastewater plant 24 hours a day for about two weeks," McDonald said.

The plant normally operates for about 16 hours a day, he said.

"We had a pump go bad at the wastewater plant from constantly running that had to be replaced," McDonald said.

He said they're still waiting on FEMA to give the utility the final approval for the claims it has submitted.

"The city obviously had more damage than we did," McDonald said. "We're lucky we didn't have a huge dollar amount. It could have been a lot worse."

Kendrick said his department lost revenue from the park rides being down near the beginning of spring, but it's not something FEMA will reimburse the city for.

"We have definitely taken a hit on it in a big way," Kendrick said. "We're really happy to be back up and running."

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