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Science and the Environment

Most Parks Open Again After Ice Storm

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/mostparkso_1536.mp3

Area parks are on their way back after the January ice storm damaged and destroyed many of their trees. Michele Skalicky reports.

Most Springfield-Greene County parks have reopened after the January ice storm. Assistant parks director Bob Belote says they're now in the completion and beautification mode.

Three trails and one park remain closed: George Washington Carver Park, Fellows Lake Trail, Sac River Mountain Bike Trail and Wilson's Creek Volunteer Nature Trail.

Belote says cleanup will be ongoing.

"Even as we complete the FEMA-related effort we have going on right now, we're still going to have our internal crews and our tree-trimming folks out there over the next year really just trying to beautify the parks and get them back to where people expect their parks to be."

Belote says some parks fared worse than others in the devastating ice storm.

"I would say that from an appearance standpoint probably Smith Park over here off of Division was just the most impacted because it had a lot of older trees and of the variety that just didn't hold up quite as well. In terms of per capita, we had the Frisco Highline Trail and Ritter Springs Park and then 2 of our golf courses: Bill and Payne Stewart and Horton Smith as well as Dickerson Park Zoo are probably the five or six facilities that got hit the hardest."

In all 1,667 trees had to be removed from Springfield-Greene County Parks facilities due to the storm.

Bob Belote says they plan to replant trees, and they'll need the public's help.

"I think you're going to see a couple of initiatives here over the next couple of weeks that will encourage folks to help us with that. April 14 we have an event where folks will have an opportunity to buy a tree for their home or to donate one back to the park system."

The loss of so many trees in the city has caused some to go through a grieving process. Ann Catlin lives close to Phelps Grove Park and says soon after the storm she began to feel overwhelmed by a sense of grief. That's why she and friend Karen Duncan, a psychotherapist, decided to organize an event to help pepole heal and to let them know about tree planting opportunities. "A Gathering: To Honor the Trees and Heal From the Loss" will begin Wednesday night (3/21) at 7:30 at the Phelps Grove Park Pavilion.

"We'll have music, a reading. There'll be drumming and a chance for individuals to share their own thoughts and feelings, and we'll also have luminaries lighting the paths around the park. We're very pleased to be joined by Jodie Adams, the director of Springfield-Greene County Parks, and she'll be providing information about the replanting efforts throughout the city and getting people some resources regarding that."

In case of rain, the "Gathering: To Honor the Trees and Heal From the Loss" will be held March 28 at 7:30 pm at the Phelps Grove Park Pavilion.