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TVA's Rockpile Recreational area sustained mass amounts of flood damage

TVA said they have at least $1.5 million in flood damage to their recreation areas in Alabama and Tennessee.

Posted: Apr 19, 2019 2:57 PM
Updated: Apr 19, 2019 6:44 PM

On Friday, WAAY 31 got a closer look at the damage February's floods caused at the Tennessee Valley Authority's recreation areas.

TVA said it has about $1.5 million in damage to recreational areas around Pickwick Dam and the Rockpile Recreational area in Muscle Shoals. TVA officials said the water got up to six feet at the Rockpile parking lot and damaged the boat dock, bathrooms, playground and the roadway.

"We're just devastated to see what's happened down there," said Andrew Sorrell.

Sorrell said TVA's Rockpile holds one of his best memories.

"The Rockpile is actually the place where I proposed to my wife about two and a half years ago, so it's always been a really special place to me," said Sorrell.

The park was swallowed up in February's floods as TVA spilled billions of gallons of water through Wilson Dam, right next to the park. TVA recreation specialist, Derek South, said because of the flood damage, the boat dock is not safe to walk on and will have to be replaced. The bathrooms will also have to be torn down and rebuilt as well.

"We've got a lot of work going on and this building [bathrooms at Rockpile] is compromised. We don't want anyone inside of it, because it could fall at any time," said South.

The floodwaters swept away parts of the playground too.

"It looks okay, but it has quite a bit of damage. There are some slides missing and some loose bolts and stuff, so we are making sure the company that built it will come in and inspect it," said South.

The flood also damaged the road to the waterfall where Sorrell proposed to his wife. The road will have to be fixed. Sorrell hopes that will be done by their anniversary.

"My wife and I always go back down there on October 29th every year. It's kind of a special day for us. I hope it will at least be fixed by then, but I am disappointed for all the people that go down there during the summer," said Sorrell.

The Rockpile is still closed with its gates locked. It's been closed since February. TVA said they do not want anyone walking around the closed gate for safety concerns.

TVA officials said they hope to have the boat ramp at the Rockpile open at the beginning of summer, but it's going to take at least until midsummer for the entire park to be open.

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