Local News

Athletic park deals with flooding after months of impact from pandemic

Posted November 13, 2020 11:07 p.m. EST

— Parts of eastern Carolina were hit hard by Thursday's major flooding event, which caused damage to homes – and businesses that had already been impacted by the pandemic.

Some parts of Wayne County are underwater, including an athletic park.

"The folks at Eastern Carolina Athletic Park are, unfortunately, very familiar with flooding," said Chad Pate, the park's manager.

During Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, water rose to about 4 feet high.

After Thursday's flooding, the water stands at about 6 inches even at its most shallow point – and people are praying it doesn't get any higher.

The park was built in 2000 and meant to withstand the highest of water.

"The building was built up high with a 500 year flood stage," said Pate.

But it's been no match against Mother Nature recently.

During Hurricane Matthew, the water got in the building.

"It got in there, so I guess it was a 500 year flood," said Pate, laughingly.

The building houses batting cages, surrounded by outdoor baseball fields, where they run ball tournaments for youth on the weekends.

However, those tournaments had been postponed because of the pandemic.

"We shut down for several months, until the governor allowed us to open back up. Of course, we had to do the cleaning and social distancing and all those things," said Pate.

Now, Pate faces even more cleaning – cleaning up all the flood damage from Thursday's rainfall.

"It will usually recede within a few hours, maybe a day. But it’s actually holding up this time," said Chris Edwards, a driver for the park.

Despite the lost revenue and damages, Pate is trying to keep some perspective.

"All of this can be replaced. Chain link fences and dirt on the ball field," he said. "In this area there are some low areas where houses are built, and that’s the sad part."

A major tournament was scheduled for tomorrow, but it's been canceled. Pate said he isn't sure when they'll be able to reopen.

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