Emotions run high as Princeville weighs options

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Emotions run high in Princeville
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Residents listen to the options at a town hall meeting.

PRINCEVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Emotions were high during a Princeville Town Hall meeting as residents without homes since Hurricane Matthew demanded to know what's next for them.

Monday night, commissioners discussed whether to vote on one or more options to give to residents when it comes to choosing what help to take from FEMA.

Those choices are:

  • Raise home above flood plain if home can physically be raised
  • Rebuild home and raise it above flood plain
  • Take a buyout

Mayor Bobbie Jones and Commissioner Joeroam Myrick did not want the vote to happen Monday night. They said they wanted more time and more information from the state as did the town manager.

"My frustration with the state is that they need to go ahead and give us the information so that we can move forward with everybody's request," said Town Manager Daniel Gerald.

Gerald also pointed out that whether they voted tonight or in the new year, February 14 is when they would be able to put together resident requests. He also said there would be another meeting in March and no matter what the options, the process could take 12 to 18 months.

Commissioners Milton Bullock and Linda Joyner agreed that residents should be given options now to start thinking about it and for peace of mind.

In a 2-1 vote, the council voted to give the residents of Princeville all three options after taking many questions from a room full of residents, some of which seem to want the buyout option.

Those who opposed the vote said there's concern about that option. They worry if too many people take that option, small and historic Princeville, which was founded by freed slaves in 1885, could be in jeopardy.

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"This is very difficult for me, I am Princeville through and through. I want to see it very successful," said Mayor Jones. "I just feel what we've done tonight is just going to put a kink in our plans and our vision, because anytime you take away 40 homes from a town the size of Princeville, it's going to have a negative impact."

There were many questions and concerns Monday night and that will only increase as the process continues.

The town manager urges anyone with questions to call town hall, (252) 823-1057. He said you can even ask for the town manager directly.

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