Storms destroy MetroParks administrative center

The administration center at Forest Run MetroPark in Butler County was heavily damaged because of storms on Wed., June 22, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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The administration center at Forest Run MetroPark in Butler County was heavily damaged because of storms on Wed., June 22, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A giant tree crashed through a MetroParks building Wednesday afternoon in Ross Twp. when severe weather moved through the area and knocked out power to more than 1,500 customers in Butler County.

The toppled tree dropped into the conference and kitchen area of the house MetroParks uses for administrative offices at the Forest Run MetroPark between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m.

Katie Ely, supervisor of Community and Park Relations, said there were four people — she was one of them — in their offices but not in that area and “we were very lucky nobody was injured.”

“It was terrible, it came out of nowhere pretty much,” Ely said, adding “it was a loud noise but not super, super significant I would say for an entire right wing of the house kind of crumbling.”

She said the tree company they hired worked all through the night using a giant crane to get the lumber off the building and they were still at work Thursday morning.

She said the building housed nine people including the director and other administrative staff. They are working to relocate those people to other park offices throughout the county while the damage is assessed.

“We are anticipating we certainly will not be back in that building for the next few months, it could be up to maybe a year, while we work on a plan to either rebuild that portion of the building or tearing down and starting anew,” she said.

ExplorePHOTOS: Storm damages trees and buildings at Butler County MetroParks Forest Run Park

A garage/storage facility next to the office and a shelter up the hill also sustained some damage but they don’t believe the structural integrity of either was compromised.

Ely said the park will remain open for visitors “for the time being” and if park closures are necessary will posted to their website. The other administrative office and Welcome Center in Ross on Timberman Road is open and that building did not sustain any storm damage.

The storm knocked out power in Fairfield, Hamilton and Ross Twp. As of Thursday morning Duke Energy was reporting there were 321 customer still in the dark in the Ross Twp. and Fairfield areas, that number had dropped to 74 by the afternoon.

Butler County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said he was not given any reports of major incidents due to the storms.

The Butler County Engineer’s Office road crews only had to deal with one downed tree at Hamilton New London and Layhigh roads in Ross Twp..

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