CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following a vote by the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission board, the storm recovery efforts at Big Bend Golf Course is now a Declaration of Emergency.

The board met Wednesday afternoon at Coonskin Park to issue the action, which now allows the formation of a 3-person committee that will take over recovery efforts at the course.

Big Bend, in the Tornado area, was severely damaged by a microburst on Thursday, May 2 and has been closed since.

“The Park Commission appointed a committee that will be chaired by Andrew Jordon to select somebody to do this work and get the golf course open in the quickest amount of time, while also taking into account not destroying the golf course,” Jeff Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson is the Executive Director of Kanawha County Parks and Recreation and said the committee’s main focus right now will be on finding the right bidders for the job.

The committee consists of Jordon, Janet Drumheller, and Dave Pope.

Following the microburst that saw winds of up to 75 mph, Hutchinson said there were at least 200 trees down on the course. According to him, golfers were on the course during the storm and no one was injured.

Last week, park officials thought it may be feasible to open the course by July 4 but Hutchinson said Wednesday he is just not sure about a hard date.

He said it depends on who the committee can find to do the job.

“Somebody that has enough personnel and the right equipment might get us open quicker than that,” Hutchinson said. “This is not something I do. This is not something anybody in Parks and Rec or a PGA golf professional does. We don’t deal with trees of this magnitude.

“This is outside of what we do and what we have done in the past.”

Hutchinson said in his 16 years with the Parks and Recreation, the board has never had to issue a Declaration of Emergency.

In the meantime, Hutchinson said the ground crew at the course is working to improve some parts of it that they normally would not have a chance to do while it is open.

“They’ve gone in and reseeded about three of the fairways that we’ve had problems with, with grass,” he said. “Sand is down there, they are working on the tees while we are closed. We are trying to do different things to make it a little better while we are closed down.”