HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) – The wait is finally over!

Sleeping Giant State Park has reopened more than a year after a devastating storm, with wind over 100 miles-per-hour, moved through Hamden.

Sleeping Giant opened at 8 a.m. on Friday, but people were there ahead of time, excited and ready to go in.

Terry Bombace was one of the first people at the park. She’s been going to Sleeping Giant State Park for decades.

“It looks beautiful, they’ve done a great job,” Bombace said.

As a long-time Hamden resident, Bombace said it was heartbreaking to see the devastation in town.

Damage throughout Hamden was caused from an EF1 tornado that touched down in May of 2018.

The damage at Sleeping Giant was caused by a micro-burst is still visible.

“I can still well up with tears,” Bombace said.

Bombace said she felt it was important to be at the park’s reopening.

“I saw on the news this morning they were reopening, and I said, ‘I have to come because this place is very special,’” Bombace said.

Bombace wasn’t alone. The parking lot filled up quickly with many people anxious to return.

Three Quinnipiac University track and field teammates said they’ve missing going to the state park to run.

“It’s a lot different than it used to be when we showed up,” said Kaitlyn Herbert of Glastonbury.

A lot of work has been done these past 13 months to get the park ready.

Toppled trees needed to be cleared away and the trails were cleaned up.

“You had to climb over trees to get anywhere. All that in there, where the tower trail begins, the gate was covered, everything was. You didn’t even know where you were, it was weird,” said Jill Scheibenpflug, Sleeping Giant park supervisor.

Everyone at the reopening said they’re just happy they can visit their beloved state park once again.

Even though the park has reopened, there’s still more work that needs to be done.

The park staff is asking people to be mindful of that when they visit the park.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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