MAMMOTH SPRING -- As of Aug. 3 employees of the city of Mammoth Spring had hauled 75 large dump truck loads of storm debris out of the city, and they are only to Sixth Street.
The debris in the city was caused from high straight-line winds that traveled through the Mammoth Spring/Thayer area the evening of July 21.
"The city owns property near our wastewater treatment plant just off Fairview Road, and that is where we are taking the limbs, branches and other debris," Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace said.
The cleanup is being led by Mammoth Spring Utility Superintendent Greg Kirkpatrick. "We have had our four regular city employees and two guys hired as summer help, and Fulton County Judge Charles Willet has loaned us one of his county crew members to help with the cleanup," Pace said.
She said two employees with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management were in the city July 24 to see the damage for themselves.
"They told us when they came to town it would probably take a month to entirely complete the cleanup. Because of the generosity of Judge Willett, we are ahead of schedule on our cleanup," Pace said.
She said Judge Willett loaned the city a county dump truck that has aided in the cleanup efforts. "Immediately after the storm Friday evening, he drove a backhoe from Salem and helped us clear our streets," she said. She said the the county also loaned the city an employee who has worked with the city employees five days.
Pace said the city hired a man with a grapple on his truck that has helped pick up the larger trees and limbs the storm blew down.
"We had all the streets in the city cleared of trees and limbs by 10 p.m. the night of the storm. Of course, there were still some streets closed due to power lines being down," the mayor said.
"I had people, some I didn't even know, wave me down in the hours following the storm saying they had chain saws and were offering to help. The city appreciates the help of the community," she said.
Pace said the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has declared the city a disaster area. "This cleanup is going to be a big cost to our city. The emergency management people told us there are funds available to pay us 35 cents for every dollar we spend on the cleanup," she said.
Pace said she and Willett would work together to turn in their information to the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. "We will not be reimbursed for any money paid to employees who worked after the storm. All we will get is 35 cents on the dollar for vehicle use and the use of chain saws. We were told to document everything and that we have a month to send it to Little Rock," she said.
She said Entergy responded quickly to help repair power lines, and four fire departments, Camp, Saddle, Wirth and Salem, helped with the cleanup.