Debris cleanup underway for Hoxie and Walnut Ridge

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -- Every city in Region 8 is dealing with debris cleanup of some type after the January ice storm.

It's a tale of two cities in Lawrence County.  Streets in both Hoxie and Walnut Ridge are still lined with branches.

"We're about three quarters of the way finished with our brush," said Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts.

In Hoxie the city started clearing the debris away in mid-February.

"We're using temporary help," said Roberts.

A few miles up in Walnut Ridge the city is using a similar method to free the town of the branches weighing it down.

"The city's primarily doing it right now.  We've got one or two temporary helpers," said Walnut Ridge Mayor Michelle Rogers.  She said the cleanup for Walnut Ridge is about a third of the way finished.

They started out with one crew working in sections of town, now there are two crews with three trucks working in different areas.

"We're really trying to speed the process up so folks can go ahead and get their yard work started," said Rogers.

At the rate they are going, she said it might take several more months to get the job done, that's why they are taking bids for outside help.  However, if the bids come in too high the city will not accept them.  One hurdle both cities are facing is that the bill is due now.

"It's not in our budgets so the money we're spending is putting a very large strain on our budgets but hopefully we can get at least 75% of that back pretty quick," said Roberts.

Residents of Hoxie and Walnut Ridge say they don't want to have to deal with the debris much longer.

"I think people are getting a little anxious about getting their yards cleaned up again, as anxious as they were to get their power back on," said Lawrence County resident Kevin Brand.

The estimated cost for cleanup in Hoxie is at $100,000.  There is no estimated cost yet for Walnut Ridge.  The bid process for the outside help for the city started on March 25th, and will continue for the next week or so.  The mayor and city council will look over the bids they receive and then decide if they will accept any of them.