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The city of Conway believes that the new MLK Jr. Square Park would reduce flooding in the downtown



Conway, Arkansas – For locals and businesses in downtown Conway, it can be problematic when Central Arkansas has severe rain.

According to Bobby Kelly III, director of communications for the city of Conway, there is a preventative strategy that might be effective to lessen flooding in the downtown area.

Kelly claims that flooding has been an ongoing issue for years.

In addition to the $12 million from the American Rescue Plan Money, he said that more than $5 million was spent on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Square Park in an effort to address such problems.

“It literally stops stormwater runoff here, collects it, detains it, and lets it infiltrate through the soil as opposed to going straight into someone’s business,” Kelly said.

They hadn’t recently experienced much rain, according to Kelly. He claimed that while the park has made some progress in resolving the drainage issue, more work remained.

The owner of Emerge in Conway is Renee Stone. It will be her 18th year in business.

She claimed that last year’s storms produced a number of heartbreaking situations.

“It was something that I was so fortunate that it did not hurt us ourselves, but it hurt our neighbors,” Stone said. “They lost inventory, they had to redo their flooring, and so for that reason alone it was very scary.”

Kelly claimed that they were aware of the concerns made by business owners over the flooding.

Stone claimed to have observed a rise in the amount of water flowing through the downtown drainage. Before a storm could come through, she claimed, they had to secure their doors with sandbags.

Since last year, according to Stone, they haven’t needed to.

“We’ve done so good with the refurbishing of the city and the streets that that’s not a top priority that we have to worry about,” she said.

If necessary, Kelly added, they will keep blocking off streets to stop water from getting into the city’s shops.

He declared that a $100,000 grant would shortly be used to start a study on downtown drainage.

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