Hurricane Matthew Recovery – Princeville

Princeville, N.C., officials give a tour of the damage to the town museum, which was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Photo by Jessica Southwell.
Princeville, N.C., officials give a tour of the damage to the town museum, which was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Photo by Jessica Southwell.

Princeville, N.C., is a town of about 2,200 people, pre-Hurricane Matthew. About 450 homes were destroyed during the hurricane and subsequent flooding, and an estimated 80 percent of the town was underwater.

Founded in 1865 as Freedom Hill, Princeville is the first town founded by freed slaves in the United States. Though surrounded by a levee built in the 1960s, Princeville was affected by two storms less than 20 years apart that overtopped those defenses: Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Several hundred Princeville residents who attended a multi-day Community Design Workshop, held Aug. 25-29 in neighboring Tarboro, to design a plan for a more flood-resilient future. The event was co-sponsored by the town of Princeville, Edgecombe County, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC-CH) Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC), North Carolina State University (NCSU) College of Design, North Carolina Emergency Management and the (N.C.) Governor’s Recovery Office. This five-day workshop brought together teams of land use planners, engineers, architects and landscape architects to collaborate with local, state and federal officials to develop three scenarios for a new 52-acre tract of land that the state intends to buy. The parcel will include houses, businesses, infrastructure, public facilities and community open space in ways that ensure that the new space connects physically, socially, environmentally and economically to historic portions of town. Located outside of the floodplain, the new space would make the town more resilient to future flooding.

Community Design Workshop photos

Reports:

Final presentation from Community Design Workshop (9.29.17)

HomePlace report

Princeville Design Workshop Guidebook

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