Severe floods have left a mess at Edisto Memorial Gardens, but Orangeburg’s attraction on the river remains intact.
The Edisto River rose so high, the park’s swings were almost completely covered in water on Monday. The water didn’t recede enough for park officials to visit both sides of the gardens until Friday.
Orangeburg Superintendent of Parks Jay Hiers said the water seems to be dropping at a rapid rate.
Judging by the steamboat light display near the green bridge, it looked as if water levels dropped at least 12 inches between Thursday and Friday, Hiers said.
Roses in the gardens are no longer in standing water. Heirs said they didn’t stand in water for a long period of time.
“They’re still actively growing, so they will be taking up water and should dry out pretty quickly,” Hiers said.
The Edisto River was flowing through the park’s azalea gardens at one time. The ground is now completely visible.
The waterwheel in Horne Wetland Park is still in its proper place. A substantial amount of debris is currently preventing the wheel from spinning.
The boardwalk is covered in silt, making it very slippery and unsafe to walk on. It will have to be pressure washed before the park reopens. The river side of the gardens will remain closed through the weekend.
“This is the first time since Sunday that the water’s been off the boardwalk,” Hiers said.
The spray park and some of the pump motors were underwater at the height of the flood. Park officials haven’t been able to check the motors yet.
Roads within the gardens are in reasonable condition, with the exception of the road between the U.S. Highway 301 and Glover Street.
“It had some deep ruts cut from all the water flowing through it,” Hiers said.
Before the park reopens, all standing water has to recede and debris and foreign materials will be removed.
“Then it’ll have to be a few days afterward if we have decent weather,” he said. “This ground is just so saturated, it’s just pure mud.”
“Other than taking time to get it cleaned up, we should be all right,” Hiers said.
He also wanted to dispel rumors that appeared on Facebook about coffins rising and floating in the city-owned cemeteries, Sunnyside Cemetery and Orangeburg Cemetery.
“We haven’t had damage like that,” Hiers said.