PRINCEVILLE, N.C. — For over 130 years, Princeville has stood as the oldest town chartered by Black people in America.
What You Need To Know
Princeville is the oldest town chartered by Black people in America
Historically, Princeville has flooded often due to its location on the Tar River
The town partnered with Conservation Trust For North Carolina to implement flood mitigation programs
Time and time again over those years, Princeville residents have suffered through devastating floods due to their location on the Tar River.
When the waters recede, the cleanup takes time. The town hall was closed for five years after Hurricane Matthew.
Commissioner Linda Joyner says being back in the building means more than people might realize.
“This is a dream come true. Prior to coming back here, before our building was renovated and up for use, it felt like we’re not at home yet,” Joyner said.
Just because the town has always flooded doesn’t mean it needs to be accepted as a way of life. Joyner says through a partnership with Conservation Trust For North Carolina, they’re working toward a drier future.
Projects, like rain gardens around the school, are already paying off.
“Honestly, it has helped already. This just happened last summer, and we’ve gotten reports from the school principal that they already see a difference in this area whenever we have heavy downpour,” Joyner said. “So it’s working.”
That’s one of several projects happening around the town. There are trees to be planted in certain areas to absorb flood and rain waters. Vacant, town-owned properties are going to be turned into managed wetlands.
These are projects that the town couldn’t have planned or funded on its own, Joyner said.
“Grants that we need to get certain things done. All the ideas, those who are experts in areas that we just don’t have that expertise in,” Joyner said. “We have expertise in what we need far as ideals and the intent to regrow the town, to rebuild the town, but sometime how to make that happen, it takes a partner to grab you by the hand, say ‘Hey, I got this for you.’”
More information about the Princeville partnership can be found here.