Dubuque County facing $600k in park damage - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque County facing $600k in park damage

A broken suspension bridge sits next to Catfish Creek A broken suspension bridge sits next to Catfish Creek

Dubuque County recreation areas are facing more than $600,000 in damage from heavy rains that led to a major flood in late July.

The help repair some of the damage, the Friends of the Dubuque County Conservation Board held a chili feed fundraiser on Sunday.

Friends secretary Michelle Kilgore said it wasn't the group's first chili feed fundraiser, "but this year, we had planned it, and it became even more important after we had a record one-day rainfall in this area. All the county parks sustained damage."

Damage includes more than $250,000 at Swiss Valley Park, with washed-out roads, campsites and bridges.

Dubuque County Conservation Board (DCCB) executive director Brian Preston said all 10 of Swiss Valley Nature Preserve's bridges were damaged, if not completely wiped out.

"You know, you can't get to some areas because the bridges have been destroyed by the flood," Kilgore said.

A couple of the bridges are fixed, but Preston said approximately $60,000 in Swiss Valley Nature Preserve bridge repairs remain.

"We were pretty overwhelmed by the amount of damage we had," Preston said. "We'd seen five and a half, six foot more water than we've ever seen in any flood event that I've ever seen around here, and we weren't quite sure how this would end up."

"I'm kind of amazed at what nature can do, the power of water and gravity," Kilgore said. "The course of Catfish Creek was changed in many places."

The DCCB has not yet received any money from FEMA for repairs, though Preston said board members are in the process of applying for funds.

"We're spending right now, and hopefully we'll be reimbursed here in the near future," Preston said.

Preston said Swiss Valley's park, nature reserve and campground will be fully open and functional by spring.

Through major clean-up efforts, park officials were able to open up the majority of Swiss Valley Campground's sites.

Other damaged Dubuque County recreation areas include the Heritage Trail, with $250,000 in damage.

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