Area leaders, Corps Colonel meet about drainage

Press Release – Bill Campbell, City of Jonesboro

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin on Thursday hosted U.S. Corps of Engineers Memphis District Commander Col. Michael A. Ellicott, members of local drainage districts, county officials and representatives of Arkansas’ congressional delegations to further advance long-term stormwater drainage planning.

Much of the conversation focused on Big Bay Ditch, or drainage ditch 10, which is an ongoing construction project of the Corps of Engineers. While the work is mainly in Cross and Poinsett counties, it is a primary drainage path for rainwater from Jonesboro and becomes Little Bay Ditch near the Industrial Park, City Engineer Craig Light said.

“This is where 60 percent of our city’s water drains, so it’s clear what a priority this work is,” Perrin said. “We’ve learned that a lot of our drainage problems lie beyond our city limits, so we have to work with all our partners to make not just Jonesboro safe, but Craighead County and all of the region.”

“The Corps has stepped up for us time and again, and I am so thankful that Col. Ellicott and the Corps have committed their services to Jonesboro,” Perrin said.

Funding Jonesboro’s master drainage plan was another issue covered during the conversation. The Corps would use the city’s plan to do a feasibility study, which would start in 2018, pending approval of Congress and funding from its Appropriations Committee. Perrin is traveling to Washington D.C. this month to meet with Arkansas’ congressional delegation.

“One topic will be getting a resolution for the Corps to do this study,” Perrin said.

“We’re probably looking at a five-year process,” Light said. “But we hope to see implementation of improvements of our master plan when we’re done.”

Perrin said the distant timeline only makes these meetings more urgent.

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