By Susan Sanders
Watching the news we are all too often reminded of nature’s unpredictable and awesome power. After our own area was impacted by historic storms in 2016, The Greater Greenbrier Long Term Recovery Committee began to take shape. “Part of our mission, Chairman David Lumsden says, “is to provide coordinated leadership for long-term recovery from disaster by assessing needs – both present and future – as well as by obtaining and connecting resources. With this in mind, I want to take this opportunity to draw attention to a growing resource in Lewisburg – Montwell Park.”
To address community needs during potential outages, the Park has raised funds to purchase and install a 70,000 watt natural gas generator. This enhanced infrastructure will enable the Park to provide power to two of its partners – Hill & Holler and ‘The Hub,’ a satellite site of High Rocks – which means that the community will have a place to gather, eat, and literally recharge should we lose electric service.
Cliff Baker President of the Montwell Park Board went on to explain, “In 2016, we became an impromptu center for coordinating emergency volunteers. This experience sparked a desire to be more proactive which led us to investing in a generator – and much more. This summer, we’ll build showers and five additional restrooms. And, the soon-to-be renovated parking lot will provide a large safe, well lit, and properly drained outdoor space where residents and resources can connect. In the future, we also hope to have an on-site radio station that could broadcast announcements and information when other communication methods are not operable or reliably available. In normal times, this on-site station could be used to bring other programming to our local airwaves.”
Lumsden also added, “I encourage area residents to create and discuss an emergency plan with family and friends – and to remember that as new capabilities are added, Montwell Park will be a location where people can go to get information and basic supplies; make contact with agencies; or volunteer.” Baker said, “We hope the need won’t arise, but we’ll be here and helping when it does.”
Cliff Baker, president of Montwell Park Board (right), with a Greenbrier Technologies electrician at the installation site of the natural gas generator at the Park.