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Fayetteville looking to demolish apartment complex to prevent flooding

The West End apartments are vacant. The Director of public works says these apartments were built in a 50 to 100-year floodplain.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Along Hamestring Creek, the complex has experienced frequent flooding in recent years.

“We’ve seen over the past really since about 2008. 2008, 2011, 2017, and now 22 so almost on a 5-year frequency,” said Chris Brown- Director of public works and city engineer

The flood in May left people homeless. one resident says he woke up to use the bathroom and realized he was walking in ankle-deep water.

“So I look out the window…that whole yard ain’t nothing but a lake and just like rushing in,” Joie Thomas-Millwood recalled.

On Aug. 2, the Fayetteville city council heard from a city engineer about potential flood mitigation measures for residences near the creek.

“There is an opportunity to purchase that property and take the buildings down to reduce that flooding hazard,” said Brown.

Director of public works Chris brown says the complex is in the FEMA floodway.

“The floodway is a smaller area within the floodplain that’s more highly regulated. You really don’t want to have any structures within the floodway….so these structures were in place before the FEMA program began,” said Brown.

The property’s sale price is $1.39 million dollars. the city plans to buy the land, demolish the apartments, and see what’s best for the area.

“Some of it could actually be in the channel or a part of the creek and there may be some residual property left and could be resold or could be turned into a park,” Brown explained.

Millwood agrees with the city’s plan and hopes it takes action because he doesn’t want anyone to experience what he went through.

“I got me a place, a roof over my head, I’m not homeless anymore, because I started having flashbacks….where am I going to go? And everything else,” Millwood said.  

The city council will meet on August 16th, to finalize its decision on the property. As for Millwood, he’s living across the street at a friend’s house.

Brown also says if the city council does decide to purchase the property the closing process would happen as soon as possible.

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