Without FEMA assistance storm clean-up may last much of year

Its been nearly a month since a winter storm hit central Arkansas causing days of power outages and debris over many of our streets. Even after all that time, unfortunately for many homeowners, proof of that damage is still visible.

You don't have to travel far to notice piles of limbs and sticks on the side of the road. In fact a month ago the Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated there were 22,000 tons of debris in Little Rock alone.

Wednesday public works admitted there's no definite time table on when it will all be gone.

For many people in Little Rock who didn't want to wait months for their pile to be scooped up, they decided to pay someone to do it.

"Actually the more you drive the more limbs you see," said Chris Rogers of Little Rock.

Rogers owns Earth Works Landscaping, and said the winter months are usually pretty quiet for his business until he noticed people wanting limbs removed.

"I started going around into areas I've worked before and new areas trying to get more work, and people just want limbs out," he added.

Little Rock Public Works said it's dedicating its entire street department to removing these piles. So far through a month it's estimated the group had removed 3,000 tons.

"We've been doing that six days a week, 10-hours a day," said Rob Loe, assistant director for LRPW. "We've been doing that with all our crews, about 18 to 19 crews per day and about 110 people."

Loe admitted the group could be working more-and-more on this clean-up for much of the remaining year, unless they get the FEMA assistance Governor Beebe applied for this week.

"The city met those thresholds as far as minimums, and the state met their threshold so we do qualify it's just a matter of the funding being approved," Loe added.

If you want to drop debris off yourself you can now do that at two separate locations in Little Rock. One drop-off is at Interstate Park near Arch Street and the other at Reservoir Park on Cantrell Road.

Both locations are open Monday through Saturday 8 am - 4:30 pm.

At this rate without FEMA assistance, it could be at least seven more months before public works has covered every area.

Rogers said he will continue to do free estimates and remove debris for residents. He welcomes any calls at 501-554-6231.