Thursday, August 18, 2022
Aug. 18, 2022

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Months after flooding, Skagit County awaiting FEMA funding for park repairs

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MOUNT VERNON — Several Skagit County parks that suffered severe damage during November flooding have yet to be repaired as the county Parks and Recreation Department waits for federal funds.

The flooding, some of the worst seen in many years, damaged park and trail infrastructure, Jose Riefkohl, project manager assistant with the parks department, said in a presentation Tuesday to the county commissioners.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency inspected the damage in late May, he said. Riefkohl said the agency has not provided him with a timeline as to when to expect the funds.

At Pressentin Park in Marblemount, three recently-installed bridges suffered damage to their supports, he said. Engineers offered an estimated replacement cost of $687,000 to $1.2 million.

The Cascade Trail also saw substantial damage.

In addition to debris and erosion on parts of the trail, water in Muddy Creek was forceful enough to move a bridge off its supports.

While the bridge is still usable, Riefkohl said it likely isn’t safe.

Water also destroyed a culvert near Champion Road, forcing the creek to carve a new channel through the trail. A new culvert is required, he said.

“We don’t have an estimate of what this is going to cost, but it’s going to be significant,” Riefkohl said.

FEMA is obligated to pay the county for repairs, but may disagree on the scope of what’s required, Parks and Recreation Director Brian Adams said in an email.

However, Riefkohl said the FEMA representatives he’s spoken to are encouraging repairs that would mitigate future flood risk, rather than simply fixing the problem as inexpensively as possible.

The agency will send a report to Skagit County that will detail what repairs it deems necessary, Adams said at the meeting.

“We have to wait for the report, essentially, before we know how we can move forward,” he said.

Riefkohl said county crews were able to complete repairs at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport and Clear Lake Beach Park without FEMA’s help, because damage was less substantial.

County crews have also nearly completed repairs to the Highway 20 Trail, where water damaged pathways, he said.

The county is awaiting a cost estimate to repair erosion along Friday Creek, Riefkohl said.

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