Efforts to rebuild the landscape at Crossroads Regional Park continue with the planting of new trees and various repair projects.
Some 15 months removed from the day the post-tropical cyclone that had been Tropical Storm Olga ravaged the park’s trees, things are coming together.
“We lost 76 trees between the storm in October and then a couple of storms after that,” said Park Director Robin Baker.
Overall, the park has about $186,000 in recovery projects that will be reimbursed by FEMA.
Like a number of the surviving trees, many of those taken out by the freak storm had been there 75 years or more.
“Some of them came down because they had some issues – they were dead or they had some bad spots or disease already,” said Baker. “It made them weak, so when the storm came through, it just took them all to the ground.”
Some trees that will soon be planted in the walking trail area will, in time, help restore the canopy that was lost.
“The canopy – that’s one thing that makes our walking trail so popular,” said Baker. “In the summer and the heat of the year, people can still come out and walk under the canopy of the trees so it’s not as hot. Not to mention the beauty of them.”
The park is planting more trees than were lost – 77 thus far, with 17 more set to be planted by the end of the month.
Twenty green giant arborvitaes recently went along Clark Street at the south park entrance. The conical evergreens are fast growers, shooting up as much as 3 feet per year until reaching a mature height of 15 to 20 feet. These were planted in partnership with Keep Corinth Beautiful, along with 25 October glory red maples and 32 red sunset maples, some of which border Droke Road.
“In the fall, that’s going to be beautiful when those trees get a little age on them as they turn colors,” said Baker.
The park got some assistance from MSU Extension Service County Director Patrick Poindexter in evaluating the trees that were left and deciding how to replace those that were lost.
“Anytime you deal with losses like that on these older trees,” he said, “it takes a while to get back to where you were, but it does provide some opportunity for tree placement and making decisions as to what type might be better suited for the area.”
Apart from the trees, the park will be repairing some benches and bleachers on the “old side” that were damaged by falling trees, and replacement wind screens are coming for the tennis courts.
The park director is also planning to replace nine pieces of older workout equipment that was destroyed and add about six more pieces that will be more cardio-oriented.
“It’s going to be a great addition to our walking trail,” she said.
Several trees will be replaced at Bishop Park, as well, likely with maples. Some of those lost were Bradford pears, which are more vulnerable to wind.
All of the FEMA-reimbursable projects will be completed by June.
The park is planning for a lively year despite the continuing challenges of coronavirus. Soccer is starting up in March.
“We’ve got a bigger turnout for soccer this spring than we’ve ever had before, and I think that’s because people are eager to get started back to some kind of normalcy,” said Baker.
A solid tournament season is on the calendar, as well, with 15 weekend tournaments launching in March.