HARDY, AR (KAIT) - One year ago Hardy was again recovering from massive Spring Flooding. "Have all the repairs been made and is Hardy ready for the Summer?" I asked Mayor Nina Thornton.
"Our tourism season has started a month and a half early. 6 weeks you know because we didn't have much of a winter and we didn't have any floods this year." She replied as we stood by the river.
A year after the last rounds of floods tore through Loberg park, there's still some signs of damage and a little debris lying around. I found some remains of a camping trailer that had tore up some railroad fence. Also the plastic picket fence around the playground area was still missing many slats.
"We're getting the fence between the railroad and the playground fixed and were getting the fence around the playground fixed. That's all been contracted out and that should be done in about two weeks or so." Thornton said.
One of the biggest losses at the playground was the restrooms. The current took out a wall and cracked a lot of the bricks. Currently a slab is all that remains of the building and porta-potties are filling in until being replaced by something more permanent.
Mayor Thornton says they are waiting on FEMA to let them know what they can do about replacing the building.
Thornton, "As it is we are going to have to build it up and get an engineering certificate and follow all the rules like everybody else has to when you build on the river in Hardy." Once rebuilt it may look like the restrooms at Jacksonport State Park near Newport. Those rise on stilts high above flood level. Or something that can be moved out is another possibility.
Last week a city employee fell into the river when the bank collapsed. Mayor Thornton said all they can to do is not allow workers near the edge, "The city, " she said, "Can't touch the bank or fence it off."
"We can't because it's a river." Thornton said, "It's a Corp of Engineers job and they are going to take a look at it for us."
The camper park at the South end of Loberg is operated by the Hardy Volunteer Fire Department. Even though it was hammered again by floodwater there are campers there once again. Thornton said the guys came in like a "swarm of bees" and got it all fixed up.
Thornton, "They take care of painting it and cleaning up every single time and whoever built that restroom the last time they knew what they were doing because it doesn't get any damage to it."
So as the sun shines and the river looks inviting, it looks like Hardy is ready for summer.