Flooded communities trying to come back from Spring’s high waters have to solve a lot of problems. One mayor who wants to dispose some things that were indispensable just a few days ago is typical of leaders of other flooded communities.

Clarksville’s comeback has begun. Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have held their first metering with the town board, laying out rules and guidelines for federal recovery help. Debris and mud has to be cleaned up. Buildings have to be dried out or refurbished and "there’s this million sandbags," says Mayor Joanne Smiley. She concedes there might not be a million of them anymore. Some have been taken down to reopen the main highway through town as well as streets and alleys so people can get into homes and businesses.You don’t just get rid of a million sandbags. You don’t just put a tag on them that says "souvenir of the 2008 flood and sell them to tourists. "There are those that are contaminated because they were touched by water." They have to be sorted from those that were higher up and stayed dry. Then, she says, some are biodegradable bags and others are in white plastic bags. They also have to be sorted. She says the city has contacted cement companies, but they want the sand emptied out of the bags and that will take a lot of volunteers. The sand has been offered at no cost to the county for use on roads during the winter but the county has not made a decision yet. Smiley says the city will keep some for the same purposes. Then there is an eight-foot high wall of gravel that was the core of another piece of the temporary levee. Smiley says the city will keep all of that gravel and put some of it on alleys and hold the rest in reserve to fix inevitable potholes and make other repairs.  

download Bob Priddy’s story (:62 mp3)