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Small Arkansas towns hopeful for disaster aid after winter weather

Some towns have still been working to clear debris after winter weather hit the Natural State— now many are hopeful that disaster aid will help speed up the process.

CLEVELAND COUNTY, Ark. — Earlier this year, winter weather hit parts of Southeast Arkansas pretty hard, and some towns have still been working to clear debris.

This week, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders requested a Major Disaster Declaration from President Biden for Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson, Lincoln, Nevada, Ouachita, Searcy, and Stone Counties.

"We got roads all open and everything and it looks good, but we got a lot of work to do," said Jim Lockhart with the Rison Street Department.

Cleveland county is still cleaning up, and though the winter weather has been long gone— the problems it left behind still exist.

"If we could have more manpower and better equipment, we'd be a lot better of," Lockhart said.

Tree limbs and brush fill ditches around town, which has made stormwater drainage nearly impossible.

There are fourteen people who make up the Rison Street Department and they explained that the cleanup has not been an overnight task.

"We got some roads we really haven't done anything to," Lockhart explained.

County Judge Jimmy Cummings said the federal assistance could ease a lot of the pain.

"We may have a little bit of money to clean up and to do some maintenance that we actually had used maintenance money on to do cleanup," Cummings said.

He added that the aid would help with getting things back on track.

"I'm glad there's a request for federal money and I hope the federal government will approve it," Cummings said.

He also explained that it will be at least until fall before the town is done cleaning up.

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