Hardy faces tourist season again during flood recovery

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

HARDY, ARKANSAS (KAIT) --The riverside parks in Hardy took big hits in the 2008, the 2009 and now the 2011 floods. What kind of damage did this year's floods cause?

"We did our preliminary disaster assessments on Friday with FEMA." said Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton, "And we figure it's about 250 Thousand Dollars this time."

The high waters have completely stripped the black top from the approach to the Wilburn Brothers Memorial Bridge. Large slabs simply were floated away and deposited on the side of the road.

Thornton, "Just like last time it rolls it over, cuts a ditch and it's gone. We're hoping that we will be able to mitigate that with FEMA and get that in concrete." Thornton says that concrete is not as susceptible to being undercut by water.

Like in the floods of '08 and '09, the baseball field at Buford Beach and Buck Park basically were wiped off the planet again. Mayor Thornton says they hope to have at least the beach accessible by Saturday.

"It will all be open Saturday morning." Thornton said, "We expect to not get it repaired the best that it's going to be, we will have some repairs. But it will be safe for the children and it will be safe for the people."

About a month ago we told you about the Hardy Fire Department taking over the RV park in Hardy. Now they have a few more repairs to make.

Thornton, "The restrooms survived, they are full of mud and the hot water heater's gone." Also gone is an electrical junction box but Thornton says the fire department will be at the park Tuesday night making repairs in hopes of having the park back open for guests on Saturday.

Up stream at Loberg Park, the city was getting some help to clean up. Inmates from the Calico Rock Correctional Facility were working away.

Thornton, "They worked once for us a couple of weeks ago and then the floods came back in. So it kind of undid what they had done. They'll be here for three days or four if they are needed." The inmates were hauling off trash to a burn pile, busting concrete off light poles that had been ripped out of the ground and putting in new mulch around the playground equipment.

The fast moving flood waters left more behind than just limbs and trash but Thornton says that people along the river didn't leave nearly as much stuff behind to wash away as in previous floods. Early warning of rising waters helped local officials get the word out and people to get their stuff out.

Thornton, "Now when we say a floods coming that stuffs gone. It's gone up , they're out of here and people up above us and below us are gun shy from the water."

Although a lot of people did move their campers out before the flooding hit. Not all of them got away. One 5th wheel trailer floated downstream and lodged in Loberg park destroying itself around a tree before winding up in a pile of metal and wood.

Probably the most serious damage to Loberg Park will be the loss of the restrooms. Water and debris impact took its toll. Several outside walls are gone, there is debris up in the roof basically it's a write off, Thornton says it will be torn down and replaced along with a good portion of the fencing.

Once again Hardy must face another summer following a disaster. Thornton says the welcome sign is out in spite of what has been on the news.

Thornton, "When they see the flooding on T. V. Economically they think not to come because Hardy is underwater. Well we're not. We're open and ready for business."

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