Jacksonport State Park flooded

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

JACKSONPORT, AR (KAIT) - Jacksonport State Park looks more like a river than a park as the White River continues to flow out of its banks.

Construction got underway Wednesday on the main road leading into the park after the fast moving waters tore the road into pieces.

Mark Ballard, Jacksonport State Park Superintendent said, "It's damaged quite a bit and the highway department is here working on it. That's the main thing at this point."

Ballard said it will take awhile for the highway department to repair the road.

"They have to bring in asphalt and their machinery to take care of that. So at three weeks would be the quickest they could probably get it done," said Ballard.

According to Ballard, they won't get a good estimate of how much damage has been done until the water is no longer in the park. The good news is the water is on its way down, but slowly.

"It's steadily dropped since we crested at 34.5 feet last Thursday," said Ballard.

Before the White River flowed out of its banks the park made some preparations to save as much as possible.

"Our maintenance staff moving things and taking care of our electrical outlets and a lot of those things. Breakers and so forth were pulled out," said Ballard.

He said once the waters recede, the clean-up process will begin and they will have some help to speed up the process.

"We do get a lot of help from Arkansas Department of Correction. They have a regional maintenance crew and they are on stand-by waiting to get into the park and help us with the clean-up," said Ballard.

Now the question is whether this year's Portfest will be held or not?

Ballard said, "We'll just have to wait and see how much further the river goes down, how fast and then how much time we have to do clean-up and those kind of things."

Newport Area Chamber of Commerce Director Julie Allen said the river level will determine if Portfest will be held or not. She said they plan to have a decision sometime next week. Be sure to stay with Region 8 News for more information on that decision.

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