DARDANELLE, Ark. — Emergency services in Dardanelle have officially transitioned from preparation to recovery.
While they’re surveying the damage, they’re also moving any leftover materials and sending them downstream to areas that still need help.
One by one, just as the sandbags were set up two weeks ago, they’re coming down the same way.
It’s a welcomed sight for Dardanelle Mayor Jimmy Witt.
“I don’t think you’ve seen me grin the last 2 weeks!” he said.
But he’s smiling now knowing the threat is over and a new normal is within reach.
“It’s good to see all these cotton balls go away that we’ve had stuck all over town,” he said.
They’re not going to waste either.
With help from Yell County dump trucks, the pallets of surplus sandbags are headed to neighborhoods around Lake Conway in Faulkner County where water is still rising.
“All of the volunteerism that took place to help fill these will be paid forward to our sister city and county down the stream,” Mayor Witt said.
Water has receded quickly in Dardanelle.
Video taken Monday shows water hitting homes on Front Street, and Thursday the sandbar is returning to view.
“The disasters almost basically over here so we’re in direct recovery and repair mode,” Yell County Judge Mark Thone said.
From the Yell County side, Judge Thone says with some sunshine, they’ll be able to get work done.
“The county work crews are sitting on go ready to try and get these torn up roads back into order,” he said.
Mayor Witt says what’s next for them is documenting damage and tedious paperwork for FEMA.
With the worst behind him, he wants other areas in the middle of it to know, Arkansas has your back.
“They’ll come through it, we’ll come through it, we’ll all recover and be better for it.”
The mayor says unlike a tornado, the damage from the flood may be hard to see since a lot can be underground.
His goal is for most things to feel like normal sometime this summer.
FEMA funds will go toward immediate repairs but also making changes to mitigate similar flood issues in the future.
Judge Thone says some of the farmland that’s underwater may be suffering irreparable damage and “normal” may take years.