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Storm slams Pihl’s Park

By Staff | Mar 12, 2017

Pihl’s Park, in Wells, was the victim of a severe March 6 storm that left trees splintered and a campground bathhouse damaged. The park is expected to be closed for nearly two months as a result of strong wind damage, although the weather could dictate a change in that timeframe for cleanup.

A severe thunderstorm hit Faribault County on Monday, March 6, and it did not pass without leaving some areas noticeably damaged.

Among those areas was Pihl’s Park, near Wells, where the 20-acre campground suffered “major wind damage,” according to county engineer Mark Daly.

Trees across the 30-site public park were toppled and splintered, one visitor’s private trailer was blown on its side, and part of the roof on the campground’s bathhouse came off during the Monday night storm.

Daly could not immediately pinpoint just how much of a financial blow the damage delivered, but he made it clear that some extensive cleanup and repairs would be necessary.

“It’s not going to open for about seven weeks,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll need a structural engineer, because I looked at it and the damage is pretty obvious.”

A couple trees, Daly added, were removed from the grounds not long after the storm, which had Faribault County on wind and other advisories Monday. But more substantial cleanup is on tap for the campground’s planned shutdown.

“We just have to take a breath, fix what we have to fix, but we have time,” he said.

When presenting the information to the Faribault County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, March 7, Daly said the primary reason for delaying heavy-duty repairs is to avoid further damaging the wet grounds in the park.

“I agree,” commissioner Tom Warmka responded. “We should hold off on any kind of major cleanup until the ground isn’t as wet.”

Pihl’s Park, a former private retreat donated to the county in the 1960s, is typically open seven days a week from the first of May through the first of October, offering 30 electric-included campsites, not to mention additional nature trails, picnic areas and a playground on 570th Avenue near Wells.