City finds problem in trying to prevent flooding

City finds problem in trying to prevent flooding
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The city of Jonesboro is working to prevent future flooding by clearing ditches, but a problem in the county could affect this work.

After a major flood in May, Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin started a costly project to clear 60 miles of ditches.

The project will help clear 'hot spots' in the city by mowing and cleaning clogged ditches.

"We identified by interviews as well as gauges in the ditches what our hot spots were," Perrin said. "The hot spot says we need to mow and clean up 60 miles of the 300 miles of ditches that is the first step."

While crews are making progress in clearing city ditches, Perrin wanted to meet with county officials as well to discuss flooding issues.

"If the surrounding counties are not cleaned then we are going to have a problem, it is going to back up," Perrin said.

During a meeting, Thursday evening officials identified a bigger issue at the Craighead County and Poinsett County line.

According to Perrin, water is gathering in the Big Bay Ditch.

"We found out when it all comes down to a certain point there in Big Bay Ditch," Perrin said.

Perrin said the Corps of Engineers is working to widen the ditch, but the work may not be done fast enough.

"With Big Bay Ditch the Corp of Engineers is doing a huge project there to make that extremely large and take care of all this water," Perrin said. "The problem I heard Thursday is the fact that this is scheduled by the Corps to not be done until 2018 maybe, it could be 2019."

Perrin said to help fix the issues in the city the work by the engineers needs to speed up.

"I need some help approaching the Corps of Engineers to say how can we speed this up, if we need to put some money into it or if we can get some federal funding," Perrin said.

Perrin told Region 8 News he wants to make sure the city work is going to pay off and actually stop future flooding.

"If I am going to be spending two million, three million dollars then I like to know what I get done with taxpayers money is going to solve the problem and the only way that is going to happen is when it gets downstream the water has a place to go," Perrin said.

Perrin said he is working on setting up a meeting with the new commander at the Corps of Engineer in Memphis to discuss these concerns.

Perrin also said he is going to Washington D.C. in September where he plans to find ways for more federal funding of the Big Bay project.

Perrin told Region 8 News the meeting Thursday was very successful.

"Without all us working together as a team I don't think any of us would have identified the major solution, had it not been all us sitting together," Perrin said. "We all identified Big Bay Ditch. So now we are all on the same team," Perrin said.

The city hopes to have all the ditches cleaned by October.

"We want them cleaned before October because that is the rainy season," Perrin said.

Perrin also said once the ditches are clean, he would like to capture aerial video for future reference of the ditches.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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