GALLIPOLIS — In the midst of the ongoing cleanup following Friday’s storms, the Gallipolis City Commission met during regular session on Tuesday and discussed the work that has been done so far within the city to bring the municipality back to its normal state.
Gallipolis City Commission President Jay Cremeens praised the dedication of the city employees who were quick to respond in the aftermath of Friday’s storms.
“From my prospective as the president, I just can’t be more pleased with our response and our city employees. The police department was exemplary, the fire department had over 30 some runs the other night. We had every department activated at the height of the storm,” Cremeens said.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be leading a group of such fine people,” he said.
Among those who also expressed their gratitude to the city workers was Nancy Mullins, a long-time city resident, who addressed the commission and gathered citizens during the meeting.
“I’m so very proud of our community. When you have commissioners, when you have a manager like Randy Finney, when you have city workers, a whole staff, the city police, the fire department and all the community gathered around to support each other and to make the downtown to look as great as it does right now as compared, or contrasted, to what it did three days ago, I have to applaud all of you. It really couldn’t have been done any better, with any more timeliness and my hat’s off,” Mullins said. “I don’t know that there’s a community that could have reacted as all of you have done and I just want to say, ‘thank you.’”
Mullins also spoke briefly about the work of Gallipolis City Manager Randy Finney throughout the emergency.
“Every place I looked, every place people I was around looked, he was there and he did it with a maturity, a seasoning, and I am very, very glad to have you, Randy, and I applaud you, as well,” Mullins said.
Finney also thanked the city employees who worked, and are currently working, diligently in the restoration of the city.
“Today, everything settled down quite a bit, but everybody responded and we got great support,” Finney said.
Finney also spoke about the cooperation of the city and county departments and thanked AEP for their response to return power to the city.
According to Finney, as of Tuesday evening, the only remaining portion of Gallipolis without power were the residents along Hedgewood Drive and Henkle Avenue.
Finney also reported on the damage experienced during the storm.
According to the city manager, along the city streets, the most damage could be seen along Fourth Avenue, where many large trees were felled by Friday’s winds. Reportedly, the majority of that debris has been cleared away.
Two trees were reportedly lost in the Gallipolis City Park, where cleanup was completed on Saturday.
Cleanup also continues in Mound Hill Cemetery were five or six large trees fell, three of which were significant, according to Finney.
The most extensive damage occurred in Pine Street Cemetery, however, where several very large trees toppled and many monuments were damaged.
“We lost some tremendous trees and a lot of monuments were destroyed,” Finney said.
According to Finney, a private contractor has been working through the night at the location to remove the trees.
Finney also reported that he is looking into a solution for the repair of the monuments and is hopeful that some money through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be allotted for the monuments, as well as the damage to the city’s trees.
“We may be eligible for some funds, but it may just fall under the water and the generators and what ever else they provide, but we are going to continue to keep track of all our hours and what we did. We may also, possibly, get some funding for the trees that we lost,” Finney stated. “We did the inventory a year and half ago and I have an inventory of what trees we had, so we may eligible for some funding replacing those trees also. So, we’ll see what happens.”
According to Finney, possibly 30 monuments were damaged in Friday’s storm in both Pine Street and Mound Hill cemeteries.
Reportedly, thorough records of the grave sites within the city exist at both the Gallia County Historical Society and Gallia County Genealogical Society and city officials are hopeful these will be of some use in the reconstruction.