Maymont has contingency plan for storms during jazz fest

Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-09 18:48:43-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- It's been nearly two months since four-year-old Shawn Wills was struck by a tree during stormy weather in Maymont.

That’s where thousands of people will gather this weekend for Richmond’s Annual Jazz Festival. CBS 6 news wanted to know what weather plan festival organizers and the park have in place to keep jazz fans safe, since there is a chance for lightning and downpours.

Jasmine Roberts, with Johnson Marketing, said that safety is a top priority. She said their organization has been working with Maymont  officials for months on contingency plans for inclement weather. [BONUS: Click here for Antoinette's weekend event picks]

"If the wind speeds is over 45 miles an hour and we see lightning…will make the decision for an evacuation.”

Organizers said they will evacuate.

"We have a protocol where we will let individuals know through our p.a. system, through video screen to exit the premises through our main gate and also the upper Hampton street exit,” said Roberts.

Roberts also emphasized their “relationship” with GRTC.  “So, the GRTC shuttles will definitely come promptly here to Maymont to make sure everyone has transportation directly back to their vehicles."

Roberts said everyone has been on heightened alert ever since the death of young Wills in June. After a severe thunderstorm moved through the area, a massive 100-foot poplar tree was uprooted, and it fell on the little boy.

Investigators the boy was visiting Maymont with his father and older brother.

The incident prompted officials to shut down the park and look into its current policies and procedures.