The March 22 storm that tore up Groveland and Hetch Hetchy infrastructure and the state fish hatchery at Moccasin was more than seven weeks ago, and unrepaired damage at Mary Laveroni Community Park has prompted cancellation of the 17th Annual Where the Hell is Groveland Car Show that was scheduled June 10.

The general manager at Groveland Community Services District, which owns and maintains the park, said the lower park may be open by late June, but organizers for the Sept. 15 49er Festival and Chili & Salsa Cook-Off say whether that event will go ahead as planned is now up in the air.

The lower section of Mary Laveroni Community Park, where the car show has been held in previous years, sustained extensive flooding damage in the March 22 storm, David Wilkinson with Sabre Design, a spokesman for the car show, said Friday.

The damage at the park now totals $372,000, Pete Kampa, the Groveland CSD general manager, said Friday.

Carole Smith, with the Where the Hell is Groveland Car Show organizing committee, confirmed in a phone interview the June 10 event is cancelled.

Smith is also with the Yosemite Highway 120 Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the 49er Festival and Chili & Salsa Cook-Off. Smith said Friday the Sept. 15 event may or may not happen on that date.

“It's up in the air right now,” Smith said. “The park is unusable as of this moment.”

Asked if there’s a timetable for having the park restored and usable for the 49er Festival and Chili & Salsa Cook-Off, Smith said that to her knowledge, the answer is no.

“They don't know,” Smith said. “It's a sad situation.”

Smith said there is a GoFundMe page set up to help raise money to fix the park.

100-year storm event

In a statement distributed Thursday this week, Wilkinson said the March 22 storm brought more than 8.5 inches of rain to Groveland and some people are calling that day a “century flood event.”

Water and debris and runoff 2 feet deep rushed down the town’s main street, which is also Highway 120, slammed into businesses downtown, and wreaked havoc in the creek drainage that runs through low-lying Mary Laveroni Community Park.

Organizers of the Where the Hell is Groveland Car Show looked at other possible venues to stage the event, but they were unable to work out necessary logistics and decided to cancel instead, Wilkinson said.

Organizers are looking at rescheduling the car show sometime later this year.

“Updates on a possible later date will be sent as soon as it can be confirmed,” Wilkinson said. “Anyone who has already sent in their entrance fees should contact the organizing committee's Carole Smith at 209-962-6119.”

Damage estimates grow

Kampa said Friday that original estimates of March 22 storm damage to Groveland CSD infrastructure were low. He broke it down like this:

+ There’s $372,000 in March 22 storm damage at the park alone. A timetable to get things repaired at the park includes a Monday meeting for the Groveland CSD board of directors where Kampa says he will urge the board to adopt a California Environmental Quality Act notice of exemption. With the exemption, volunteers with equipment can begin to “put dirt back in place,” spread it and compact it, Kampa said. The damage includes $25,000 worth of gravel that got washed away.

“Hopefully we’ll have lower park open in late June so the public can use it,” Kampa said. “We may not have all the facilities open. We’re learning more about the condition of the buildings.”

There’s a concession stand with refrigerators and counters for major events that may not be salvageable, Kampa said. It got undermined so bad, Groveland CSD staff thought the building was lost.

“We’re getting inspections now,” Kampa said, “to see if we can save it.”

+ There’s $395,000 in March 22 storm damage to the CSD’s wastewater collection system, and it’s going to cost $100,000 more to put mitigation measures in place to prevent a repeat of the damage.

+ There’s $170,000 in March 22 storm damage to the CSD’s wastewater treatment plant off Ferretti Road and an additional $30,000 required for mitigation measures.

+ There’s $70,000 in March 22 storm damage to the CSD’s water distribution system, including a lost culvert pipe, electrical surge damage to expensive electrical components, and a water line on Ferretti Road that was damaged and and has since been bypassed.

The only other events at Mary Laveroni Community Park that have been canceled or relocated include a local flea market that has moved to a bank parking lot, Kampa said. He said Groveland CSD staff are not aware of any other cancellations.

The GoFundMe page for repairing storm damage at Mary Laveroni Community Park is at www.gofundme.com/repair-mary039s-park online.

Highway 49 still closed

In late April, local, state and utility officials said total damage estimates attributed to the March 22 megastorm, including Hetch Hetchy infrastructure, Tuolumne County infrastructure, and Caltrans roads in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties, exceeded $74 million, nearly double preliminary estimates.

That total includes $3.2 million in damage to the state fish hatchery at Moccasin Creek, which lies downstream from the compromised Hetch Hetchy Water & Power’s Mocassin Dam. The hatchery was flooded March 22 by waters that overwhelmed Hetch Hetchy’s storm-swollen Moccasin Reservoir and seeping Moccasin Dam.

Moccasin Creek Hatchery is a key facility for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Before the storm hit, the state relied on Moccasin Creek Hatchery to supply trout to multiple Central Valley and western Sierra Nevada reservoirs and other bodies of water.

State Fish and Wildlife people expect the hatchery to be operational sometime this fall. It might take as long as 18 months to two years to restore and return the hatchery to full production, which includes breeding trout, hatching eggs, and raising fish to catchable size.

That same storm also tore up state Highways 49 and 132 and multiple county roads that are still being repaired. Two deaths occurred in Mariposa County during the height of the storm. As of Friday according to Caltrans, Highway 49 remained closed from the Highway 120 junction at Moccasin in Tuolumne County to Bear Valley in Mariposa County.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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