Changes in Turtle Creek Concern Neighbors

November 24, 2004 -- Posted at: 4:30pm CST

JONESBORO, AR - The water in some of the re-routed part of Turtle Creek has now receded, but about 24 hours ago, neighbors were worried their homes may become flooded.

Charlotte Tacker explained, "Well, I got a call. It was my neighbor across the street, and she wanted to know if I had looked out into the ditch area, and I said, no, and I went out to the back door and looked, and the water was all the way to the top, and it was going up into my neighbor's yard, close to the orange fence over there."

Charlotte Tacker's neighbor is Steve Ralston. He's lived in his home for 24 years.

"About 9:30 or so the water was to the top of the ditch. It looked like it was coming over," Ralston added. "Pretty scary, and we were told that this was never supposed to happen."

Ralston made telephone calls, and eventually spoke with someone from the City of Jonesboro. Claude Martin was one of the people who responded. He in turn called a manager at Cameron Construction Company who is overseeing the project.

Martin, Public Works Director & City Engineer, said, "When he assured us that to the best of his ability the water wouldn't get any higher, then we were relieved to hear that, because we were prepared to get some machinery going and do something last night."

To give you an idea of how much water the ditch can hold, at least how deep it is, neighbors said when large earth-moving machines, at least 15 feet tall, are in the bottom of the ditch, all you can see are the lights at the top.

Claude Martin said that rain and the task of moving unpredicted utility lines are delaying the construction of a culvert underneath Highland Drive, a 9 acre retention pond south of the road and completion of other Turtle Creek improvements.

Steve Ralston added, "This ditch has never overflowed before, when it was the original Turtle Creek. It just needs to be taken care of, but it should never have been let go like this."

Cameron Construction officials hope to have it completed in the next few weeks.

"So far they've pretty well took care of everything else, and I'll be excited to see the mall, but the neighborhood will never be the same again, but that's life," admitted Charlotte Tacker.

The main developer of the Mall at Turtle Creek, Bruce Burrow, didn't talk with us on camera about the ditch project, but he did say that he believes the creek is in better condition than what it was before.