02/07/10 — City officials: Park flooding isn't problem

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City officials: Park flooding isn't problem

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 7, 2010 1:50 AM

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Traffic travels along Ash Street Saturday morning in front of a flooded Stoney Creek Park.

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Friday's heavy rains sent Stoney Creek over its banks Saturday morning flooding nearby Stoney Creek Park. Goldsboro Mayor Al King and City Manager Joe Huffman said that it is not surprising that the park would flood following such heavy rains. Also, they said that designs for and improvements to the park take into account that the park is located in a flood plain.

The road leading into Stoney Creek Park Saturday morning looked more like a boat landing than a driveway as floodwaters from the nearby creek overflowed its banks turning the park into a lake.

The flooding followed a day of at times heavy rain that dumped up to 2.5 inches on parts of the county north and east of Goldsboro.

According to the National Weather Service's Raleigh office, 1.98 inches of rain were recorded at the Goldsboro-Wayne Airport and 1.97 inches downtown.

Including the water from the recent melting snow and ice, the area has been saturated with 3.19 inches of water over the past two weeks.

The floodwaters covered the new parking lot area and lapped less than 50 feet from the sign at the East Ash Street entrance to the park. Areas of the park that weren't flooded were still soggy and had some standing water.

Mayor Al King and City Manager Joe Huffman said they were aware of, but not surprised, by the flooding.

Ditches were full this morning and there were pools of standing water in the city and county. However, King and Huffman said they were not aware of any flooding in other parts of the city.

"I was driving by and saw it (park flooding)," King said. "Anytime we have this amount of rain it is going to happen. It is going to flood until we can get the drainage to take it (water) away from the park."

Both King and Huffman said that the planning for and improvements being made at the park take into account that flooding is possible since the park is in a flood plain.

"How many days a year does it flood?" King said. "If you can use it 95 percent of the time and people enjoy it... . It is what is."

King praised the committee that is working on development of the park.

"They are designing it to make improvements taking into account it (flooding) will happen," he said.

Those improvements include a disc golf course, a 50-space parking lot and revamped walking trails along the park's Ash Street boundaries. The parking lot will be constructed using "crush and run," a rock mix. FEMA rules prohibit the use of asphalt and concrete in the park.

Being in a flood plain means that nothing can be built on the property, Huffman said. The reason the city was able to acquire the land in the first place is because of its flood plains designation, he said.

"It (park) is designed so that we wouldn't have any permanent damage during any flooding," he said. "We designed it knowing that it is in a flood plain and we knew this was going to happen.

"It is a good use of the property otherwise it could just be overgrown."

Neither King or Huffman could recall how much the city has spent on the park. However, Huffman noted that some of the work has been done by volunteers.

Huffman said he would not call the city's costs a "significant investment."