Johnson City

Methodist camp slowly rebuilding

Buffalo Mountain Camp heavily damged by August flood

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - Next month will mark a major milestone when one part of the facility re-opens.

After weeks of mopping and sweeping to erase damage caused by August floods at Buffalo Mountain Methodist Camp, it's slowly returning to normal.

"The property was significantly damaged," say Trish Patterson with the United Methodist Camps, "[we had] at least 8 mud slides caused by the rain."

Russell Redding first says he saw the damage on t-v.

When he actually visited the site, he says he was shocked.

"I saw on the news," says Redding "all the damage once I came out here talked to the folks saw the extent of the damage."

He spent Wednesday helping clean out the retreat center which will be the first building to re-open.

It is set to open October first.

The building is used throughout the year by various groups for conferences and reunions.

Other buildings still need hours of work, especially in the dining hall where mud is still piled high.

Restoring water was the first priority; the floods washed away the pipes and destroyed the entire water system.

Redding is receiving needed college credit for working at the camp, and says the unusual form of hands-on experience will help him in his career.

"I've been able to come in and learn a lot about risk management," says Redding.

The floods washed away the road leading into the camp.

It's now passable and officials can access the grounds to begin working on plans for the future.

The first question is where to rebuild.

"[We have a] long road still to go," describes Patterson "we have a goal to have summer camp in June 2013, it will look different we lost about 100 beds."

They are also working with government officials on how to re-route the creek to hopefully prevent future floods.

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