Duke Coal Ash Clean-Up Blocks Park, May Hurt Activities

Danville, VA - The coal ash spill is affecting a Danville park, leaving many concerned about its summer business. One park near the water is off-limits and that could affect some activities.

As Duke Energy works to clean up coal ash, they are blocking access to Abrou-Grogan Park. That means the recently-built canoe launch is not available and many people are not happy about it.

The park now looks more like a construction site. As Duke Energy works to clean up coal ash from the Dan River, they're blocking public access to Abrou-Grogan Park until July.
"We usually see a lot of crowds on the river, people taking advantage of the fishing and the use of the river. It wasn't great timing," said Bill Sgrinia, Director of Parks and Recreation.
It's bad timing for a popular park. It is where many people come to kayak or canoe. But now kayakers like Jeff Ashby will have to find another place to access the water.
"It's an extreme disappointment. That's kind of our primary spot," said Ashby.
Ashby normally kayaks several times every summer, he says now he may not go until after Duke's work ends. Director of Parks and Recreation Bill Sgrinia redirects people to Camilla Williams park. While it's nearby, dams limit you to a half mile stretch, where Abrou-Grogan park gave you several miles to roam.
"It's kind of like going on a water slide, you go to the top, wait 30 minutes and go again," said Ashby.
Sgrinia says they will still offer kayaking classes this summer. But he won't know until people enroll, how badly this will hurt attendance.
"We've put a lot of emphasis into getting people to use the river and to use the riverwalk trail and to see it as an asset, it's a setback for us," said Sgrinia.
Sgrinia says he's heard only minor complaints about the park being closed.

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