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Flash flood damages park walking trail

Flash flood damages park walking trail
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 1:15 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Unexpected repairs are what many affected by Friday’s flash floods are now working to address.

The same goes for the Greater Huntington Parks and Recreation District, which is dealing with uneven walking trails.

The floods washed away much of the trails themselves.

Randy Gouge spends a lot of his time walking the trails at Ritter Park.

He’s working on going from walking 3 miles a day to 5 miles a day, but lately he’s had to avoid many parts of the trail that were damaged following flash flooding on Friday.

“I try to stay off the main track as much as I can. There’s about three sides of it here that have been damaged, just mainly over on the main thoroughfare is still in the same shape it’s always been, but on the back sides you have to be very careful,” Gouge said. “Sometimes I’ll cut through the middle here on the blacktop just to make sure that I don’t turn an ankle or hurt myself.”

Officials say the familiar soft pavement trail goers are used to walking on is called dense gravel aggregate. Much of it is missing from parts of the trail and is either in the creek or sitting on a pile of grass.

“You might notice along the walkway that there’s a lot of it that’s washed off to the side and our crews will be out here trying to get as much of that out of the grass and back in the pathway as they can to salvage what they can,” said Greater Huntington Parks Executive Director Kathy McKenna.

McKenna says there’s about a mile of trails on Ritter Park and about 3 miles on Memorial Park.

“Within Ritter Park, about a quarter of a mile of it is damaged. Going down Memorial, about 1.4 miles is damaged,” McKenna told WSAZ.

She says they’re looking at about $150,000 worth of damage.

“It wasn’t something we had budgeted, so if FEMA monies don’t become available to help with this, then that just means some other projects that we had slated to happen will probably get put on the back burner,” she added.

McKenna says the current goal is to make the paths as safe as possible and level them out so there’s not as much uneven pavement.

She says once they do that, they’ll start the rehab process.

In the meantime, folks should be very careful if they’re using the trails.

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