City leaders deem flood prevention meeting a success

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Kinston officials visited Raleigh Wednesday to present lawmakers with a resolution toward flood prevention of the Neuse River.

Mayor BJ Murphy said many of the legislatures he spoke with Wednesday understand the importance of creating flood prevention measures because they’re from the area.

Murphy said the proposed resolution was well received and will likely lead to a study bill that will allow for other local government’s input.

“We’re already seeing some local governments come on board and push this thing through,” said Murphy. “So, the more the merrier in terms of getting some action out of Raleigh and Washington D.C.”

He said Kinston is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew.

The mayor said he has provided four solutions the state can take including creating a new dam in Raleigh.

Murphy said going to the capital allowed him to speak with legislators face-to-face

“We needed to meet with our legislators because what’s happening with the Neuse River when it comes to these rivers is becoming historic and catastrophic,” said Murphy.

The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew has left its mark on Mayor Murphy.

Murphy said, “What ever happened to the discussion on a dam between falls of lake in Raleigh and the coast. That for us would mitigate a lot of the potential loss of property and life here in the east.”

He said his proposal has the solutions local governments need.

“That includes anything from snagging, dragging and drudging the Neuse to looking at the city of Raleigh as an alternate source for their drinking water,” said Murphy.

He’s now going to Raleigh to have these talks face-to-face.

He said, “The reality is towns and counties really have our hands tied when it comes to the army corps of engineers, to how does emergency management handle this, what does the state do, division of order and quality, all of these are state and federal agencies we need at the table working on this bill.”

For local businesses, their doors maybe open, but they’re still trying to rebound from their losses.

Russell Rhodes is the CEO of Neuse Sports Shop in Kinston and his business was deeply affected by the flood.

“In October, we had over 33 inches of water on the showroom floor,” said Rhodes. “Everything under that level had to be thrown out and replaced.”

Rhodes wants politicians to respond to their needs.

Rhodes said, “If we don’t take opportunity now while we remember this and its fresh in our mind to take action, a few years from now this will happen again and lives will be put at risk and livelihoods will be put at risk.”

Murphy said he knows he cannot stop weather from happening but thinks taking steps toward prevention is key to keeping the Neuse River within its banks.

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