HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — A place once described as a “home away from home” is now seemingly closing for good.
“It had one of the prettiest bodies of water you’ve ever seen,” said Houston County Commissioner Mark Culver. “The water was crystal clear just like it came out of your tap. People would go down there and have family reunions and picnics and those kinds of things.”
That’s a description of how Alabama’s Chattahoochee State Park once looked like. However, that was before Hurricane Michael devastated the park nearly one year ago.
“The trees are gone,” Culver said. “I mean it’s been leveled. The state went in and cleared the fallen trees, but where it used to be a very wooded, pristine setting, all the way down to the lake there’s just nothing there now.”
Thursday night the park announced on Facebook it will remain closed permanently; the decision reportedly stems from a lack of funds from the county and state.
“This devastation is just not something we (the county) can handle,” Culver explained. “If the park is going to continue to exist, we’re going to have to have some assistance from the state. We have requested that.”
Over the past year, the park has attempted to clear the major debris on its own, while hoping for a spring 2020 reopening date. Now, that date has seemingly been postponed indefinitely.
“It is closed till that time that we hear (from the state),” Culver said. “We feel like, more than likely, it’s going to remain closed.”
Residents are now expressing their disappointment and wondering what more could be done.
“They should have funds to fix this thing,” said former park goer George Halford. “Because a lot of people go there, been going for years and years.”
According to Culver, the county has submitted its request for funding, but it would take around a quarter million dollars to get the park to an operative status.