Christmas in the Park: Overcoming storm damage

 
A September wind storm brought trees and tree limbs down in Garrette Park in West Jefferson. This one narrowly missed the Santa House.

The out-of-this-world wind storm that hit Ohio on Sept. 14 did a number on Garrette Park, home of West Jefferson’s Christmas in the Park.

That day at 1 p.m., West Jefferson Community Association President Jeff Pfeil was on his way to southern Ohio when he got a call from Carol Beachy, a fellow Association member. She informed him that a limb had fallen from one of the trees near Santa’s House in the park.

"About 30 minutes later, I received a second and then a third call that we had some tree limbs down in Garrette Park. By 3 o’clock, I had made my way back to West Jeff. The first place I headed for was the park," Pfeil said.

Road closures made the going slow. Once he got there, many other people had shown up to see the destruction. All the while, the wind was still howling.

"These massive trees, some more than 60 feet in height were broken like toothpicks. Tree limbs were all over the ground. My thoughts turned to how we were going to decorate with lights for Christmas in the Park," Pfeil said.

Luckily the buildings and playground equipment did not sustain structural damage. Jefferson Local Schools, which owns the park, took on the job of cleaning up the tree damage.

It took weeks to clear the debris. West Jefferson residents cut up the limbs on the ground for firewood. A tree service cleaned up the remaining limbs, cut to the ground two trees that could not be saved, and cut out hanging branches from all other trees.

"Only one tree, right in the middle of the park, shows the damage that occurred that Sunday afternoon. The decorating has taken a different shape for this tree, but the other trees are still lit as they were in the past,” Pfeil said.

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