NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Nina Thornton, mayor for the city of Hardy in Sharp County, is telling all listeners the benefits of working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mitigation team.
“They have been wonderful. FEMA’s mitigation people worked with us and proposed a solution to a problem that was causing a lot of grief to the residents of this community of 754 people in northeast Arkansas,” commented Mayor Thornton.
The town of Hardy suffered a total of three floods within a six week period during March 2008. The flood waters basically shut down the city sewer system until FEMA was able to approve a mitigation project that solved the problem and brought smiles to Mayor Thornton and every city employee.
“FEMA surveyed the situation, suggested that we replace all ground level pumps with submersible pumps, build elevated platforms for all electrical service, install new electrical panels and convert to computerized controls,” said Mayor Thornton. The total project cost was $604,493 of which 75 percent was funded by FEMA under their Hazard Mitigation 406 program. The remaining 25 percent ($151,123) was shared by the state and city of Hardy.
“We can’t praise FEMA enough for helping us solve a problem that has caused us concern for a long time. Since the project has been completed our Public Works Superintendent Billy Gilbreath has ceased spending time daily physically monitoring the pumps and electrical panels. With the new system he controls all operations from his computer in the office or cell phone when not at the office,” according to Mayor Thornton.
Gilbreath said that if flood waters rose in the middle of the night, he had to travel by boat to manually shut down pumps now he can do everything from a cell phone or computer.
Mayor Thornton’s project was funded under DR-1751 and covered severe winter storms, tornados and flooding that began Mar. 18, 2008.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.