City still assessing sanctuary damage | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | October 27, 2016 5:00 am
Last Updated: October 26, 2016 at 11:23 am
Restrictions on the walking paths at the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary are going to be in place for the foreseeable future, according to Walterboro City Manager Jeff Molinari.
“The paved areas are all passable, but we still have some significant issues that have to be addressed with the boardwalks,” he explained. The paved portions of the walking trails will remain open, but the damage has significantly shortened their length. He said the longest unobstructed paved path is from the Washington Street entrance to the pond and then up to the Detreville Street entrance.
“The damage we had (from Hurricane Matthew) was probably worse than what we had last October with the flooding,” Molinari added.
Walterboro Parks Director Adam Davis will be responsible for assessing the damage caused to the wooden boardwalks, what Molinari called “the most scenic part of the sanctuary.”
The assessment will have to be prepared in the coming weeks so that the city can submit a claim to the Federal Emergency Planning Agency. Molinari said that he anticipates that the city’s kick-off meeting with FEMA officials should be held in a couple of weeks.
The sanctuary damage currently is the only infrastructure item the city will seek federal disaster funds to underwrite the cost of the repairs. “In terms of capital items, the sanctuary was where the greatest hit was,” Molinari said. He said presently, the city is not prepared to estimate the cost of the damage to the boardwalks. He is also unsure how long it will be before the boardwalks are repaired. But, he added, “it is going to take some time.”
FEMA funds will also be available to assist the city in coping with the overtime generated by city employees, currently estimated at $65,000.
The federal agency provides funds for the buildup of employees the city departments undertook to prepare for the approaching hurricane, as well as the overtime generated during the storm and recovery.
That includes the overtime expended to remove the vegetative waste from city streets.
Molinari said the Public Works Department usually has two crews assigned to yard waste removal and, in a normal week, crews can make a couple of sweeps of the city streets.
Since Hurricane Matthew, Public Works has had both crews assigned to removing the vegetative debris and they are working six days a week, at least eight hours a day.
In order to obtain FEMA assistance, Molinari explained, the city has “to track and document everything.” But, he said he does not have an up-to-date count of the number of truckloads of vegetative debris removed from the city because, he said, getting the debris removed “has been a constant process.”