COLBERT COUNTY, Ala - Historic flooding ravaged a popular Shoals recreation area in February. Now eight months later, it’s been restored with many improvements.
The TVA Rockpile Recreation Area was badly damaged. The waters were so strong, playground equipment washed away to nearby woods. When floodwaters receded, TVA stepped into action to restore the area with a goal of making better than before.
Derek South, TVA Recreation Specialist, says, “Our park here at the Rockpile, it’s one of a kind. You look around, there’s not many access points for the public to come in to enjoy the river, the scenery, the wildlife, and everything, and you can look here behind us, it’s a just constant flow of traffic coming in and out. So, we’ve invested about $150,000 down here in total in all the repairs.”
Repairs included a new boat dock. South says the original dock was fine structurally but lost a few boards on top. He adds that the boat ramp collected a large amount of debris that had to be removed before boats could use it again.
New bathrooms, an $80,000 investment, were added after the originals were severely damaged. The new bathrooms were designed by a company named CXT. They're equipped with five inches of solid, reinforced concrete on all sides making them more durable during storms. They also come with flow vents so floodwaters can easily pass through them without causing damage.
A new playground was installed with interactive technology. There's a wheel that children can spin that powers a board with buttons, each playing a different animal sound followed by a description of that animal.
New fencing has also been placed around the playground and a riprap, or rock barrier, has been placed to protect the shoreline from erosion. For TVA, it's all about safety first.