Jonesboro's Flood Plan of Attack
Flooding in Jonesboro raises high waters, and even higher concerns. Roughly seventeen square miles of the city is in a regulatory flood zone. Areas around Ridge, Race Street and Stadium Drive in North Jonesboro, are among the most prone.
Executive Director Pam Knapp Carver of Red Cross of Northeast Arkansas has frequently come to the aid of Jonesboro's disaster victims.
"We've had flooding in areas that we've had shelters open for three or four days," says Knapp Carver. "We've helped at least 360 families in the last seven months."
Mayor Perrin is planning to bring some calm to Jonesboro residents by creating a storm water utility team that would help to facilitate drainage. The plan is being met with challenges for city engineer, Craig Light.
"We have several hundred miles of enclosed drainage systems, and several hundred miles of open drainage systems that we have to manage and maintain." Light said. "We don't have a designated funding stream to keep up with all the work."
The city is conducting a study of how much it would cost to implement a storm water management system for North, South, East and West quadrants of Jonesboro. The cost exceeds 110 million dollars for one. Mayor Perrin is exploring his options.
"Eventually what you're going to have to have in Jonesboro, as big as it is, eighty two square miles, you're going to have to have some type of a 200-acre detention pond, possibly another one for 50 acres." Perrin stated to Northeast Arkansas news. "You're gonna have to look a widening some of these ditches that we have."
Perrin is hoping to model Jonesboro's flooding plan after Hot Springs, which would access property owners in each drainage district, a fee that would not only help to keep the ditches clean, but fund the storm water management team. It's a collaborative effort that may not come to fruition until 2020.
Until the city storm water team is created, city officials say that the best way to prepare for flooding, is to purchase flood insurance. And look into the National Flood Insurance Program. Monthly premiums can run for $700/year or more, depending on your property's risk.
Knapp-Carver of the Red Cross says emergency disaster kits are a must.
"Water, flashlight, a little bit of money and medicine," she says, "Make sure that you have that kit on your home, and that you're able to take care of yourself, for a minimum of three days."
The second phase of Mayor Perrin's flooding plan is to discuss the results of the study, and cost of making storm water management a reality with the public.
A storm water utility ordinance is to be presented to the city council by early September.