Earl P. Powers Park on Newnans Lake reopened Friday after four months of repair from damage caused during Hurricane Irma.
The park, located at 5910 SE Hawthorne Road, experienced severe flooding, damaging the boat ramp and fishing pier. Fallen trees and debris blocked canal access to the lake, said county spokesperson Mark Sexton. The boat ramp was rebuilt, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cleared out vegetation from the canal. The parking lot and restrooms reopened Friday, but the playground, picnic area and fishing pier will remain closed for further repairs, he said.
“It was quite a complicated process and big job to make sure that access to the lake was safe,” he said.
Sexton said the county hopes the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for the repairs, a sum they do not yet know.
Gainesville resident Tony Ivey sat on the sparkling metal boat ramp and lobbed his fishing line into the murky waters of the canal Saturday morning. The park has been the 59-year-old’s favorite fishing spot since he was 5 years old.
“It means a lot,” he said. “(Being) around the water is really relaxing.”
Ivey said flooding left most of the park underwater. Even the picnic tables were floating, he said.
Despite the damage, Ivey said he was grateful to have his fishing spot back.
“I really missed it the months that it’s been down,” he said. “I really missed it.”