ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A historic Albany park damaged during the January storm is still a mess and organizers of a popular community market are worried it won't be cleaned up in time for the start of their season.
The vicious winds uprooted century-old trees and snapped others in half, causing great damage to the site Tift Park Community Market calls home.
Stephen Brimberry is part of the group that originally started the market.
With the opening day of the market's fourth season less than two weeks away, he attempted to bring in volunteers to clean up the park. But his efforts were stopped, putting the future of the market in jeopardy.
City leaders met with market vendors Tuesday to explain why those efforts were stopped. Every bit of clean up must go by the books.
"There's the FEMA obligation that we have to do to make sure we're abiding by their guidelines. And also, the state and federal regulations that govern this particular park, even without the disaster," said assistant city manager Phil Roberson.
Tift Park is the only historical site on the national register damaged in last month's storm. Because of that, not a stump can be moved outside of those guidelines or it puts money on the line.
"I don't want to do anything in violation so that when FEMA makes it final decision that can't say that because X Y and Z happened you're no longer eligible for these funds," said Commissioner Bobby Coleman.
But the future is still bright for the market. City leaders said the market might have to make adjustments and downsize but they plan to have the green light from FEMA soon. That's good news to Brimberry.
"We'll be back and we'll be back March 4, hopefully. I feel good about that," Brimberry said.
The city said they should have an answer from FEMA by the end of the week on when clean up can proceed.