Saturday flooding leaves Monroe County Department of Parks with messes to clean up

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Kayaking and closed signs at some flooded Monroe County parks have replaced dog walks and picnics.

Major rainfall and flooding over the weekend have forced some county parks to close, as ponds of water flooded the fields. Now that our weekend of endless rain has subsided, News10NBC’s Jenny Ly reports parks department crews have their work cut out for them.

“We’ve got seven shelters and four lodges here at Ellison Park, all of those are closed. We’ve got two shelters and one lodge at Powder Mills still closed,” said Patrick Meredith, park director for Monroe County Department of Parks.

Popular parks such as Ellison Park and parts of Powder Mills have temporarily shut down with entire sections submerged, including some of the lodges. According to the park director, a number of people had their lodge reservations canceled over the weekend due to the high floodwaters.

“We’re not seeing significant damage, so we just have to wait for the water to recede and then clear out any mud that’s gotten inside of them,” Meredith said.

This is not the first time Ellison Park has flooded, but Meredith said there is not much to do to prevent Mother Nature’s work

“This is a flood plain. If we were to fill this flood plain in to make it above flooding conditions, what we would really be doing is impacting folks downstream or upstream, and they would be getting more water versus the park. It’s much safer for the residents in Monroe County for this park to flood rather than private property,” Meredith said.

Park staff are now spending every day this week cleaning up the flooded zones in hopes of making them usable soon.

According to Meredith, Sunday the peak level at Ellison Park was 9.4 feet. Monday, it measured at 8.22 feet, dropping a little over a foot in the last 24 hours. While the flooding is significant, Meredith says the cost to clean up the areas is minor and that it will not have a major financial impact on the county.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday] we can probably have our teams come in and start to look at things and get equipment in here and start cleaning the mud out of the shelters. We’ll just take our staff that would normally be mowing lawns, we’ll send a bunch over here to clean up mud instead of mowing,” Meredith said.

In certain sections of Powder Mills, floodwaters have started to subside allowing residents like Amber Savea and her daughter to enjoy the great outdoors again after a washout weekend.

“There was a ton of rain this weekend, and I just hope that all the parks are ok. We love to come and visit. I know they were flooded over the weekend, so we’re just here to visit today now that they’re back open,” Savea said.

Most of Powder Mills is open and safe for the residents to enjoy, while Ellison Park will take about a week for park staff to clean up and open up again.