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TVA's Rockpile Recreation Area reopens after Muscle Shoals flood damage

The area was closed for about nine months.

Posted: Oct 16, 2019 3:53 PM
Updated: Oct 16, 2019 5:15 PM

A popular recreational spot in the Shoals is finally open after February’s historic flooding.

TVA's Rockpile Recreation Area was under water for about a month, causing $150,000 in damage to the bathrooms, roads and playground.

TVA recreation specialist, Derek South, said they had to tear down the old bathrooms at the area because of all the flood damage. It's now replaced with new bathrooms that weigh 50,000 lbs and can withstand flooding.

"They have flow through vents that allow floodwaters to come in and out without doing any damage," said South. "They have five inches of concrete all the way around that includes the walls, floors and the roofs. Everything is solid, reinforced concrete, and so what that does, it makes it a lot more durable."

The floodwaters also took out playground equipment and fences. Those are now upgraded, too.

"There is a new soundboard. It's interactive where children can hear the different sounds of native wildlife. There is also a new fence around the playground that adds some security and reassurance to parents," said South.

The biggest improvement to the area is a new road, leading to the waterfall. It was washed away during the floods, and TVA installed a rock wall to prevent future erosion.

Dan Ledlow lives in the Shoals and was down at the area for the reopening. He said he's been asking when it would be open, because he loves walking the area in the morning.

"It just means the world to me," said Ledlow.

In total, the February floods caused about $2 million in damage to TVA's rec areas. They hope these new improvements will lessen future damage.

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