Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Students at The Retreat struggle to access homes

Residents of The Retreat at Lake Tamaha should be able to drive to their homes this afternoon, according to city clerk Tracy Croom. The area was blockd off by the Secret Service to accommodate President Obama during his tour of Alberta City Friday morning.

Police and National Guard troops remain posted at the intersection of 25th Avenue and Jack Warner Parkway, and another outpost has been erected just south of the Retreat entrance. Croom said the department is trying to protect the area from looting. Although the presence of the Guard and Police has isolated the Retreat from looting thus far, there have been incidents elsewhere in Tuscaloosa.

Many Retreat residents have voiced frustration over the last 24 hours, as they have been unable to drive to their homes inside the gated compound.

“The Retreat is totally undamaged.,” said David Bailey, a sophomore in the business school. “Yesterday, students were told if they left to get supplies or volunteer, they could get back in. Then they made us wait in line for hours just to tell us we couldn’t get in.

“The cop that we dealt with initially was screaming and cursing at people, and threatening to arrest them. I have never been treated by such disrespect from a law enforcement officer. It was the most absurd thing I have ever seen,” Bailey added. “If anything, they should allow people to go to the Retreat and set up a help center for people in Alberta because there is no damage.”

Emily Vaughn, also a resident of the Retreat, said she decided to return to Montgomery yesterday so she could access the Internet and help get people in Tuscaloosa up to speed. “You cannot leave or enter the Retreat except by foot. Students can’t get back home,” she said.

Vaughn and Bailey both said students could park in the median along Jack Warner Parkway and walk to their homes. However, they could only retrieve the possessions they could carry in their hands.

“People don’t want to carry their belongings down 25th Avenue because it is extremely unsafe,” Vaughn said.

Croom confirmed that there was some confusion last night at the checkpoint on 25th Avenue that was preventing access to the Retreat. “We had some issues last night and those have been corrected. And we have notified people at the checkpoints to let residents in,” she said.

The National Guard is helping secure the neighborhoods along 25th Avenue because of problems with sightseers. While the intersection of 25th Avenue and Jack Warner Parkway near The Retreat was left mostly unscathed by the tornado that struck Tuscaloosa Wednesday afternoon, the south end of 25th Avenue near University Boulevard encountered heavy damage.

Croom initially told The Crimson White that residents would be allowed to get into the Retreat at noon, but strongly encouraged them to provide documentation verifying their residence. However, Guard troops at the outpost continued to direct residents to park in the median along Jack Warner and walk to the neighborhood. Most students do not have driver licenses from Tuscaloosa anyway, and were unable to provide official identification bearing their Tuscaloosa address.

However, the police department has since decided to allow people going to the Retreat to drive down 25th Avenue. Long lines should be expected as they begin allowing vehicles to go through the checkpoint.

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