BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Nearly two months after the historic flooding in August, repairs continue for most. That includes the BREC park system, where recovery is being added on top of previously planned renovations.
At the height of the historic flooding, the only thing marking BREC's Howell Park on Winbourne Ave. was the top of the gym standing above the water. Howell Park was scheduled to undergo major renovations a few weeks later, and now those renovations include major repairs as well.
"We've already had crews in, like homeowners are doing, gutting the buildings, getting them dried out and ready to be repaired," said Cheryl Michelet, spokesperson for BREC.
BREC took on flooding at many of its area parks, several of which were scheduled for upgrades. Howell Park got some of the worst flooding. In all, 52 BREC buildings took on water, including eight with serious damage. Now the park system is facing the same challenges as homeowners, assessing what can be repaired and what cannot.
Fortunately, BREC says most of the damaged buildings are smaller storage or maintenance sheds, which can be easily replaced. The other major repairs, like those need at the Howell Park gym, will take a little more time. This also means that some services will have to be moved.
"Our after school programs, for our summer camps, our holiday camps, all of that, what we're looking at is where can we partner and temporarily work with a church or work with a school and maybe share facilities," said Michelet.
The good news is BREC says no programs will stop all together, and neither will the scheduled upgrades. They broke ground on the Howell Park renovations last week and they say FEMA could even pick up most of the bill for the unexpected repair work.
"The good thing is, BREC had a reserve fund for a situation like this. The other good thing is FEMA will come in, if you have the proper documentation, if you work very closely with them and they will reimburse you for repairs 90 percent," said Michelet.