PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. — Homeowners in Pulaski County areas along the Arkansas and Maumelle Rivers are coming to terms with the muddy mess left behind by two weeks of historic flooding.
The people who live on the strip of land between the two rivers are familiar with flooding over the years, but it doesn’t make cleaning up any easier.
“The problem is it just kept rising and rising above expectations,” said Walter Haynes who with his wife assessed damage to the stilted house they built on the Arkansas 36 years ago. “This is the worst it's ever been. In 1990, it came about two feet under here. Now it's four feet.”
Farther up County Farm Road, water got into homes, so the Haynes counted their blessings that they only have to clean a soaked garage and storage bin.
The water dragged brick and concrete mailboxes yards from their places a few doors down. Parts of the road are broken, other parts covered in drying mud dust, which flies through the air as a street sweeper tries to clear it away.
Hikers and bikers familiar with Two Rivers Park will immediately notice the damage to the community gardens, with fences bowled over by the water and covering anything planted in mud.
Two miles away, another public space remains closed as the water drains down.
“We've been lucky that we did not have more damages than what we have,” said Josh Jeffers, superintendent of Pinnacle Mtn. State Park, who is directing crews arriving from other parks in the state.
“We're going to have to go through and clean up every picnic table, every bench. All that has to be sprayed, disinfected, as well as all our facilities like that are going to have to be cleaned as well.”
Jeffers says they hope to reopen the West Summit Trail area. The fishing pier along the Arkansas is a different story. It remains submerged with a pair of water snakes standing guard.
The parking lot resembles an alien landscape with a thin layer of cracked mud covering every surface.
“We're trying to make sure that this place is safe before we let anybody back in,” Jeffers said, who added that repairs to a playground will probably be the big-ticket item when the bills come due.
For homeowners nearby, repairs will be in the millions. The faucet delivering federal aid money has recently been turned on.
And that aid along with insurance and helping hands will keep the Haynes in their riverside home.
“Yes, we're going to stay. We're going to live here,” they said. “No we're not moving. After this many years, we're not moving.”