Beebe subdivision battles repeat flooding, wants change

The rain has stopped but the flooding has not in one White County town. People who live in one Beebe subdivision say they want something to change but the city tells FOX16 there are few options to fix the flooding.

Water backs up into the Beebe subdivision near Windwood & Tori after heavy rains, leaving only large trucks able to get through.

“Every time it rains this is what we think we’re going to have to run into, every time,” homeowner Dan Blanchard says.

The flood waters right now cover her street but Shelly Felbermayer fears it will get into her home again.

“Families can’t be families if they can’t live in their homes,” Felbermayer says. “We can’t just walk away and leave our homes, we have no place to go.”

The Blanchard’s say when they purchased their home in 2001 it was worth $125,000. But with the floods over the years they say that worth now closer to $25,000, literally and figuratively underwater.

“I don’t think it is fair,” Blanchard says. “You get to go home, you don’t have to worry about if it rains you’re going to be homeless. I’m 54 years old, what am I going to do if my house gets flooded to where it is rendered useless?”

Beebe mayor Mike Robertson says his only option, spend millions of dollars buying all the homes and relocating families. But that money isn’t there.

“There’s very little the city itself can do,” Robertson says.

The city of Beebe will need to complete a hazard mitigation plan in order to be eligible to compete for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The plan is expected to be complete some time in 2012.

“I understand their frustrations and it’s going to continue to get worse in my opinion,” Robertson says.

Some homes in the subdivision have already been condemned. Neighbors would like to see a levy built or something to change the flow.

However Milton McMullen, who is the flood plain coordinator for the city of Beebe, says the most cost effective remedy would be the city receiving federal grants for pay for the removal of the homes and preventing any further development in the area.

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