City of Hope Wastewater Superintendent Bobby Arney is appreciative of a new partnership with the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
"This saves the city a lot of money and we are really proud to have them here," Arney said.
The program brought state ADC inmates to Hope to clear right of ways from brush grown over city sewer lines. Thursday they worked behind the Factory Connection shopping center on North Hervey Street.
Arney was extremely excited about the work being done by the prisoners and how quickly and thoroughly the job was being done.
The program connected to a work release program for the state prisoners has been ongoing in Texarkana since the 1980's, according to Texarkana ADC Lt. Robert Morgan, but they have been contacting other locations to help cities do jobs with which they may need assistance.
"They started at 8 a.m. and have already cleared 600 feet, by hand and power saws," Arney said at just around noon.
Arney expressed tremendous appreciation for Morgan and the work provided at no cost to the city. He also said sometimes there are projects such as the clearing of those passages that the city struggles to find time and manpower to get them done.
Morgan said this was the first project started by the prison workers in Hope, but they also worked in Ashdown, Texarkana, Fouke, and Garland. Morgan said they looked for things that cities needed assistance with and worked anything from digging ditches to demolishing homes, clearing woods, etc. Morgan said they work anywhere from 20-28 inmates a day for different communities in the area. The local project was strictly a Hope city project, he also added, not a county project.
"It is impressive work. We are looking at 800 feet cleared in a day. That is really great," Arney said.
He said the project saved the city manpower and equipment costs, and time on projects that may seem neglected. They can now repair the 800 feet of sewer lines that had become overgrown up to the point the wastewater teams could not get to them. Morgan said they will spend about one day a month in Hope.