Pocahontas receives money for much needed levee repairs

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - Three years after floodwaters seeped into nearly ever home in a Pocahontas neighborhood, help is finally coming for levee repairs.

Region 8 News visited that neighborhood that was devastated in 2011 by floodwaters. Many of the homes have been remodeled but the memories of the flood are still there.

"With a flood, you see everything destroyed. I lost everything," Pocahontas resident Patti McCandless told Region 8 News.

Three years after the floods, she's still recovering. Though she lives in a different home on Vicki Drive now, the house she lived in on Vicki in 2011 had water up to the windows on the home.

"A lot of people think I'm stupid because I moved back over here and everyone says you know, it just happens once every 100 years, well, never say never," McCandless said.

After seeing floods in 2008 and again in 2011, flooding is a concern for all those in the Robil Addition, especially with the current levee in place.

"It's a makeshift levee right now," city clerk/treasurer Suzanne Hawkins told Region 8 News.

There's not much to keep flood waters from homes along Pace Road but recently approved grant money will soon change all that.

"We actually started this 2-3 years ago," Hawkins said. "The first time, we were denied."

Earlier this year, the city tried again by tweaking the grant application and putting in more information about the area.

Hawkins said she and employees in her office visited 94 homes in the area, surveying them for information needed for the grant.

A few months after the grant was submitted, state employees showed up.

"I understand that they only make visits when it's a real possibility that we could get the grant," Hawkins said. "We toured them around the Robil addition and the community there and the levee as it exists now," Hawkins explained.

The city learned just this week that they'd be receiving $202,000 from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for levee repairs.

"This is pretty much the existing levee here," Hawkins showed Region 8 News on a map. "It will be built up, improved, a lot stronger."

A brand new levee will also be built around the Shannon Baptist Church. The church flooded in 2011.

"This will definitely set the minds at ease of the people that live in the Robil Addition," Hawkins said.

"Yeah, it will make me feel better about sleeping at night," McCandless said.

The estimated price-tag on the project is $260,000. Hawkins said the city actually received more money than they anticipated from AEDC. The rest of the money for the project will come from in kind work from the city.

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