Temporary repairs to the Lollie Levee are complete and work to permanently fix the 90-year-old levee after it was damaged in the historic 2019 Arkansas River Flood will begin later this year.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began initial repairs to the Lollie Levee last week.
“The levee has been repaired,” County Judge Jim Baker confirmed Tuesday afternoon. “They will do the permanent repair in the fall. It will look just like the rest of the levee, the same width and everything.”
Conway spokesman Bobby M. Kelly III said that the federal government will cover all costs associated with the levee’s repairs because it was properly maintained by the Faulkner County Levee and Drainage District No. 1.
Cpl. Bob Dixon said federal funds would cover repairs because it is authorized to do so under Public Law 84-99.
“This levee is being repaired by the Corps of Engineers because it belongs in a program under Public Law 84-99, which is established to help communities maintain their levees and repair them should they be damaged in high water like this one was,” he said. “I get a lot of questions about whether or not we do this everywhere along the river, and particularly bank stabilization in different places. [However], we are only authorized as a federal agency to operate where Public Law has given us specific authorities like in this case.”
Along with letting residents know the levee is temporarily fixed, Judge Baker said he wanted to let the public know a Federal Emergency Management Agency station is set up at Mayflower Middle School, located at 18 Eagle Circle. Those affected by the flood can stop by the FEMA station Monday through Friday to report damages and apply for assistance.
Regarding damages to county roads and other infrastructure, FEMA representatives will begin conducting assessments.
As the clean-up process begins, Baker said he encourages residents to continue helping their neighbors.
“We have been trying to assist people,” Baker said. “We’ve been so fortunate with how many have volunteered their time. There have been so many volunteers. They’re the ones that will get less recognition, but there the ones that should be recognized.”
Faulkner County Administrative Assistant Sally Stip said United Way is currently raising funds to assist flood victims.
“One hundred percent of the funds will go directly to flood victims,” she said.
To donate to local victims, visit www.uwark.org and select the “donate” tab in the top, right-hand corner. To receive a direct link to the donation tab, text FLOOD to 313131.
Stip said anyone wishing to help elderly residents and others in need of help picking up sandbags and other demolition projects can call her at 501-358-4442.
“We’re really needing volunteers for the clean up,” she told the Log Cabin on Tuesday. “There was a lot of people in the beginning filling up sandbags. Now we need to clear those out and some people are having to take apart their drywall.”
Some areas heavily impacted by the flooding event have dumpsters set out by the county for residents to toss their ruined furniture, carpets and other debris.
Some of the dumpsters set out by local officials currently sit on Easterwood Point Road and Jones Lane. Jones Lane is located along the Arkansas River. Residents in this area on Tuesday were dozing heaps of rubble that once made up their homes to the ends of their driveways. Baker said county officials will begin making rounds to gather debris and sandbags that are left out at “the right of way,” or at the end of residents’ driveways as quickly as possible.
Disaster unemployment is also available to Faulkner County residents as well as those living in Conway, Crawford, Jefferson, Perry, Pulaski, Sebastian and Yell counties following this historic flooding event.
The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services is offering the Disaster Unemployment Assistance for up to 28 weeks.
“Individuals who have temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits (such as self-employed individuals) may be eligible for DUA, which provides unemployment benefits up to 28 weeks,” officials said. “The first possible week of compensation for DUA purposes is the week ending June 1, 2019, and the last possible week of compensation is the week ending December 7, 2019.”
The filing period for Faulkner County residents began last week and continues through July 12.
To apply for DUA, call the local Conway office, located a 1500 N. Museum Road Suite 111, at 501-730-9894.