WYNNE, AR (KAIT) – City officials in Wynne have expressed optimism regarding a long time flood project in the western part of the city. According to Mayor Bob Stacey, the support and manpower provided by Cross County Judge Jack Caubble and other employees have helped lift the project off the ground.
Stacey said the Towne Creek Project will widen the creek from the city limits to State Highway 350. The creek drains an estimated 60-percent of all flood water from the city.
"The judge and I work real well together. We sat down and decided with our equipment we could pool our resources and do the job. We're about half way through it now," said Stacey. "Whenever we get a big rain, that water comes like a freight train. It gets down in here. This is the main drainage out of town, it drains probably 50 percent of the town I'd say or so."
Stacey said multiple problems have delayed the widening of the creek, including financial issues.
"We'll get this main ditch widened before winter is over, with the rain it's just you have to wait until it dries up and kind of stabilizes. It'll be next spring before the whole project is done," said Stacey.
Stacey said a feasibility study would have cost the city and county an estimated $300,000, but the city is using its own manpower along with county resources to complete the project.
"All of our equipment would have been working somewhere else, and we couldn't have done it alone. That's the main thing," said Stacey. "We're trying to do what we can. Like I say, we've got other projects. We're not through with this yet."
City firefighters have had to rescue residents in the areas near Towne Creek that flood frequently.
"People have had to be rescued half a mile down there from a couple of houses when it got up like that," said Stacey.
However, Stacey said despite the project not being complete, residents have already noticed a lack of flood water.
"We had over about 6.41 inches or rain, I believe, in less than 24 hours and that's about the biggest rain they've recorded since they've been keeping records and that's been for decades," said Stacey. "I would say it can probably hold twice the capacity of water now."
Stacey said crews are taking the ditch down to the original depth, clearing both sides of trees and debris and planting new seed on the sides to increase aesthetics.
"It wasn't anything like it is now, it has been at one time a ditch we fished in when we were growing up, but over the years trees have grown up in it, people have just littered and dumped trash in it," said Clyde Collins, whose home has flooded once before.
"It has worked. The last rain we got about three weeks ago, as the mayor said that they said it was about 6 inches. And it did get up over the road, but that's as high as it got," said Collins. "They've taken that shoulder off. it had a shoulder from that east side coming the south and they've taken that off and of course raised it higher, so therefore water has been able to flow much better than it has."