Ashley County businesses and a church are damaged after roof caves in under weight of heavy snow and ice

Arkansas News

ASHLEY COUNTY, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) 02/18/21 — The accumulation of snow and ice has caused major destruction to businesses in Ashley County.

Hood Packaging, Max Bowl, Level Ground Fellowship church all seeing their fair share of damage.

“You just never think about this weight from the snow and ice. My neighbor right across the ally, their whole back patio is collapsed. This is way above what we’re used to in South Arkansas that’s for sure,” Chester Huntsman said.

Scott and Doris McAllister own Max Bowl in Crossett. The couple is originally from Wisconsin but moved to town for a job opportunity at Georgia Pacific.

Photo Courtesy: Max Bowl Facebook page

The entertainment venue was once the place people gathered to have fun on the lanes but now it’s no longer a site to make those kind of memories.

“We had minor roof damage and we were moving some stuff out and to protect it. We got phone calls 10 or 15 minutes later that the whole roof collapsed and this is what we found,” McAllister said.

This weekend will make two years since the couple took over. They made a list of changes to revamp the bowling alley and succeeded. Many people came from areas outside of Ashley County to enjoy the experience.

Doris McCallister says the business added kitchen over the last two years and worked especially hard to clean and get the building up to code. They just purchased some new furniture this week.

“We brought it back to where it was in the hey days and now it’s gone so it’s very devastating,” McAllister said.

Max Bowl was closed for six months due to the coronavirus pandemic and they were just now getting back to having a full crowd each weekend. Now, the building is almost unrecognizable and everything from the front door to the back of the building is barely salvageable.

Many people are now reminiscing on their own good times in the building although its gone through management changes since it was first built.

“To come to the bowling alley, it was a wonderful place to be. It was the gathering place for all young students back then. It’s a terrible shame for Scott and Doris,” Huntsman said.

With no idea what to do next, the McAllisters have been leaning on the community’s prayers as they talk with their insurance company to see what can be done.

“We just want to thank everybody for all of their support and prayers and we will just leave it in God hands for right now,” McAllister said.

Other businesses in Crossett received several structural damage including Hood Packaging which employs a number of workers.

According to a spokesperson, there weren’t any employees inside the building when the roof collapsed Wednesday afternoon though there was a water leak that caused Texas Street to close for much of the night into Thursday morning.

“We do know that they received extensive water damage as well as the structural damage,” Mayor Crystal Marshall said.

Some employees have expressed concern that they may lose their jobs because of the damage. The spokesperson we spoke couldn’t provide a comment on the possibility.

“The extent of the investigation is still under investigation and they are limited to determine the full scope just because of the conditions,” Mayor Marshall said. “We’re not entirely sure if the building is structurally sound for people to go into and look more in depth. That’ll have to come when the weather conditions subside just a little bit.”

In North Crossett, the pastor of Living Ground Fellowship told me the roof also caved in into the church’s sanctuary. Pastor John Martin hasn’t surveyed the damage inside just yet.

He’s currently working on where congregants will gather for Sunday service.

“Our community is really strong and I’m really proud of how we rally together in the good times and the bad and we get through it together,” Mayor Marshall said. “This will be no different than any other obstacle that we face.”

A pavilion at Wiggins Cabin was also damaged due to heavy weight of snow.

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