Parks damaged in flood, clean-up process begins

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Riverfront Park was turned upside down by the fast moving Black River. Now, as the water recedes, the clean-up process will soon get underway.

Jay Matheny, Parks and Recreation Director said, "There's still going to be at least another week of drying time before we can even get in here and get some equipment in here to get some of this debris and things out."

But the hidden dangers that lurk in the water may be the biggest problem that's left behind.

"Anything that would be agricultural all that would be in the water. Plus you will probably have fecal matter and things of that sort," said Matheny.

He said the park is closed at this time due to the dangerous bacteria, but crews will be sanitizing and pressure washing the playground and other equipment to make it safe.

"I believe the equipment itself will be probably be fine with some disinfectant, but the pea gravel and things of that nature, maybe wood chips and things like that will all have to be hauled out and redone" said Matheny.

The playground equipment is all in one piece but that can't be said for everything in the park.

Matheny said, "We're looking at probably two to three weeks of just cleaning time, but the park will probably be closed awhile for camping."

The water caused so much damage to the electrical system, according to Matheny. Meaning it will be a long time before campers can take up residence at the park.

"It was submerged for so long all of our electric panels and breakers and everything will have to be replaced," said Matheny.

The damage to the park is so great that it's hard to tell how much it may cost.

Matheny said, "It's hard to put a figure on it. I wouldn't be able to."

In the end he hopes to get some financial assistance to help with the rebuilding process.

"We're trying to get with FEMA and try to secure some funding and hopefully they will be able to work with us and I believe they will," said Matheny.

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