Business owners near Neuse River prepare for flooding

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — The Neuse River is inching higher as the excess water from rainfall last week makes its way downstream.

Business owners along the river say they are moving their stuff out as quickly as possible, but they aren’t happy about it.

“I shortened up my office space so I could wash it down if it happened again,” said Marty West, who owns West Masonry. “But I didn’t know I’d be washing it down this soon.”

West has spent the past two days clearing out his business for the second time.

“I had to stack everything up,” said West. “…I got a bunch of stuff in my office and shop. I got it all up in blocks.”

He bought the building 13 years ago

“When I bought it I knew it was in a low-lying place, but it was also in the 500-year flood (plain), which I figured I was good, being I’m not a vampire,” West said.

Since then, he’s spent $40,000 repairing and rebuilding.

With the Neuse projected to hit major flood stage, he’s looking at another financial burden

“After I went and spent the money I spent seven months ago, I’m right back here now moving everything out, gutting it back out again, and I’m going to have two foot of water here again,” said West.

Just next door, Brian Lucas and his business are facing the same fate

“It’s very upsetting,” said Lucas. “It seems to be ridiculous. It seems to be happening more and more often. It was not something we were expecting seven months down the road cause we just got moved back in a couple of months ago.”

Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy said he feels for the businesses that will be impacted once again.

“All you can do is all you can do really,” said Murphy. “And the good thing is it’s predictable. We know it’s coming. We know where it should be.”

He says this is the perfect opportunity to reinforce preventative measures so these businesses can put this headache behind them.

“The river is going to continue to flood,” said Murphy. “That’s what rivers do. We are going to continue to grow and develop that’s what we do. But what is that right balance for the environment as well as for mankind?”

Murphy and a group of city leaders are heading to Washington D.C. Tuesday to talk with the congressional delegation about preventative measures such as building a dam or dredging the river.

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