Fort Smith still trying to rebuild and restore months after historic flooding

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA) — Historic flooding in the River Valley happened over a month ago, but people are still without their homes and are trying to rebuild what they lost.

Kimberly Wieneke moved from Minnesota into her home in April 2018.

She lost everything in her home to floodwaters, and is still trying to get things back to normal.

“I feel like I’ve been living out of my car for two months,” she said.

Wieneke and her family have been out of their house since May 24, when the waters reached inside her home.

“We are a foster family and so we want to get open as quickly as possible so we can have more kids,” she said.

In the midst of the flood, Wieneke lost all her furniture and the things she keeps as a foster parent.

“We lost toddler beds, baby beds,” she said. “We had tons of toys and I had tons of little kids books that I had collected.”

Wieneke and her husband have been trying to rebuild and restore what they once had, which doesn’t come without a price tag.

“Every time I write a check, I cringe because I never thought I would be writing $5,000 checks for stuff,” she said.

Fort Smith City Director Neal Martin said the city decided to waive the building permit and inspection fees connected with repairing homes destroyed in the historic floods to help families like Wieneke’s who have already lost so much.

“Even though they are going to be spending money to rebuild the house, the city can at least provide some relief from that,” he said.

Wieneke said the help from the city and the community keeps her afloat, but doesn’t want people to forget Fort Smith is still struggling.

“I wish I could just blink my eyes and this house would be put back together,” she said.

Martin said he is confident that Fort Smith can over come this as well as anything else that comes their way.

“Fort Smith is strong,” he said. “We’ve learned a lot and we as a community will get through this.”

Wieneke said hopefully she will be able to move back into her home in a few weeks to start fostering children again.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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