Town, county clean up after storm

By Alex Bridges

FRONT ROYAL– Workers for the town and Warren County continued cleanup and repair efforts from last week’s storm.

Criser Road at the bridge remains closed until officials determine the damage cost and then repair the crossing over Happy Creek, Town Manager Steve Burke said Monday. Town crews worked to remove debris collected at the 8th Street bridge. Happy Creek continued to flow over the bridge Monday morning but receded by the afternoon.

Most of the damage was contained to the area around Happy Creek identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the floodplain, Burke said.

Burke noted that the proposed fiscal 2015 budget includes money to improve the Criser Road bridge by widening and raising the crossing. Such improvements are seen as a way to help keep the bridge from being washed out during heavy flooding, Burke said.

The town’s Department of Environmental Services continues to clean up and assess damaged areas though most of the major work was completed Friday, Director Jimmy Hannigan said. Damage was on par with previous floods, Hannigan said.

“A lot of stuff we don’t see so when we get calls and complaints we run out and take care of it,” Hannigan said.

County officials estimated Monday that repairs and cleanup to parks and recreational facilities damaged by the flooding likely could cost thousands of dollars.

County Administrator Douglas Stanley visited the park again Monday with Daniel Lenz, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and Harry Kisner Jr., maintenance supervisor, to look at the damage. Flooding from Happy Creek washed through the area of Bing Crosby Stadium in town.

While the flooding spared the stadium and adjacent swimming pool, the lower-lying ball fields took a beating. Stanley pointed out that the Champions 53 field took the brunt of the flooding while Robert E. Mason Field also sustained damage. The creek washed out the clay and other material in the ball fields. The force of the water ripped chain-link fencing from the ground and spread debris across the fields and parking lots. Asphalt collapsed because water flowed under paved areas.

The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department has secured other playing facilities in the area for the groups that use Champions 53 Field, said Lenz. The other organizations that use Robert E. Mason Field may need to delay their activities for a few weeks until the county can repair the facility, Lenz said. Stanley said he doesn’t expect repairs on the fields to be completed by the end of the high school season.

The county took over the maintenance of the parks and recreational facilities in town limits in 2000. Since then the area around Bing Crosby Stadium flooded from at least four severe storm events, Kisner said.

The county used more than a dozen inmates from the local jail to help in the cleanup work. The county’s insurance claims adjuster is assessing the damage. Stanley said the county also is compiling information on how much it spends to clean up and repair the damage left by the storm in case funds are made available by state or federal agencies to help cover the costs.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com