FAIR BLUFF, N.C. (WECT) - In 2016 Fair Bluff was severely flooded due to Hurricane Matthew. Just 26 months later, Florence hit, destroying what little the town had left.
But Fair Bluff Mayor Billy Hammond has hope the town will once return to the thriving town he remembers.
“We had a hardware store, we had a clothing store...,” recalled Hammond.
Today there is no more hardware store, no clothing store, the downtown once filled with shops is essentially empty. Signs of Matthew’s and Florence’s wrath are still very much present.
After Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016, most downtown businesses were flooded. But many business owners came back and tried to rebuild. One of those business owners was working to build a hair salon before Matthew hit.
“She came in and repaired it. Believe it or not she had just finished up about two weeks before Florence came through and washed her out again,” said Hammond.
That narrative, known all to well by so many who used to call Fair Bluff home.
Hammond said the town used to have a population of around 1,000 people, today he estimates that number sits around 450.
After two major floods left so many with so little, many residents decided it was time to move on.
But for Hammond and the remaining residents, they have faith that Fair Bluff will once again be the thriving town they remember.
“We’re not going to give up hope, we’re going to move forward, and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The people here the majority of them were born and raised here, and their parents were born and raised here, and this is home and there’s no place like home,” he said.
Hammond says the town is working towards making plans and finding funds to move the downtown to a different location, in hope that former community members will move back.