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Published May 15, 2011, 08:43 AM

Area parks start to open as floodwaters recede

East Grand Forks, Minn. (WDAZ TV) - After a long wait for floodwaters to recede, campers are finally getting to use a popular park. The park isn't protected by dikes and for the last few years has been hit hard the Red River, but is now back in business.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

Bill Dudgeon is wrapping up his first weekend of camping at the Red River State Recreational area in East Grand Forks. He says there just small signs that this camp ground was underwater just a few weeks ago.

BILL DUDGEON – Camper: "Even today they have kids picking up sticks and cleaning and that."

At the beginning of the month, the neighboring Red River still covered a portion of the Park. It's located next to the downtown area. The dikes don't protect area which was once neighborhood bought out after the 97 flood. It's been three years in a row of cleaning up after the Red.

BRIAN OMDAHL - State Park Worker: “We had the slow moderate heavy high water. That just took a while to leave.”

You can see the water mark that shows how high the water got this spring on the showers and bathrooms. And that took some time to scrub and sanitize. The power receptacles had to be reinstalled, the sewer and water hook-ups must wait.

BRIAN OMDAHL - State Park Worker: “The city would like to have everything going, but they feel it's still not quite time yet."

Because of clean up delays this month, there have been refunds for reservations. This is the first weekend campers can come back."

BRIAN OMDAHL - State Park Worker: “Just sort of got it going here the last couple of days."

JOHN WASYLUK - Manitoba Camper: "We kind of looked into it before we came because we were aware that it would be flooded. It's nice that it's gone down for our weekend here, but of course it would have been nice it had not been flooded at all."

The Recreational Area workers hope to have full service camping in the park by next weekend and the park looking pre-flood like before one of its bigger weekends Memorial Day. It will cost about 15 thousand dollars to clean the park. The DNR, city, and possibly FEMA will foot the bill.

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