WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) - Leaders in this Columbus County city aren’t waiting for state or federal aid to help prevent future flooding. They’re proposing to pay for it themselves.
Whiteville officials are discussing paying to fix pipes that are too small to handle floodwater similar to what was created by Hurricane Florence last month and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. According to City Manager Darren Currie, pipe upgrades have been needed for a while.
The city got $400,000 in a state grant after Hurricane Matthew that went toward a storm water study that resulted int recommendations for repairs.
Currie said the city applied for more money, but it was deferred until the next grant cycle.
According to Currie, business owners in downtown who were under water for the second time in two years can’t wait any longer for help.
“You hate to see people with their possessions just sitting out in front of their business," Currie said. “Either that or they’re home and sitting out trying to dry those things out. It’s very disheartening and very upsetting, obviously, when it happens in your own community, so now it’s our turn to try to do what we can do to try to prevent that.”
Diane Stewart owns Ed’s Grill in downtown and said she’s glad city leaders are stepping up.
“You’re going to always try to rebuild or personally, I am, if I can," Stewart said. “You try every time to rebuild, but how many times are you going to be able to rebuild? I’ve still got a lot of work here to do and I don’t know now when I’m going to be able to do it, but I’ve got to do it.”
The project is expected to cost $225,000. Currie will present to city council next week when it’s expected to OK the project