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How Conway officials are handling city floods following days of storms

Following days of severe storms and heavy rainfall, flooding is remaining a reoccurring issue for those in Conway.

CONWAY, Arkansas — It's been a stormy week for Arkansas and round three of storms clearly brought a lot of wind and even more rain.

On Monday, parts of downtown Conway, including Oak Street were flooded.

As a precaution, some businesses took an extra step to put out sandbags to keep any floodwaters out.

"Historically, downtown Conway has had problems flooding," said Conway Mayor Bart Castleberry.

With consecutive days full of heavy storms, history repeated itself, with flooding becoming a problem for the city.

Fast forward to Wednesday and it was business as usual in downtown Conway, as most stores were open, but sandbags were visible.

That's good news, considering earlier in the week was a much different story. 

"It was just a very unique situation. In some instances, a 50 year flood [and] in some instances, 100 year flood in a 20 minute time period," said Castleberry. 

With flooding being such a reoccurring issue for the city, Castleberry said part of the issue is the infrastructure underground.

"It is an old drainage system and it goes underneath the buildings," Castleberry described.

While city officials are familiar with the cause of the problem, he added that there is no easy fix.

Leaders in the city are working to construct a new park with a system to hopefully solve the city's ongoing issue.

"Not only does [the system] detain water and slow water down coming into downtown, it also helps clean the water up before it actually drops it into the storm system," Castleberry said.

He said Conway will be getting nearly $12 million in federal rescue money that could provide some relief, which is something that's been in the works for years now.

"We do not have a specific line item just for drainage, but we will be using some fire rescue money specifically for drainage," Castleberry said.

Flooding isn't just a problem that happens in downtown either though, it happens in other areas of the city too.

"South German Lane is an area that will flood fairly quickly and some of the areas over on Sixth Street," Castleberry pointed out.

As the city works to get rid of one of their biggest annoyances, Mayor Castleberry advises people to always be cautious when you see roads that are closed because of floodwaters.

"You're not only putting your life in danger, you're putting a lot of our personnel in danger, so stay out of the water," Castleberry said.

He also added that people who avoid those barricades can be ticketed by law enforcement.

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