Building Back Better Together
Recovery from the Floods

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Tarrytown Mall Finally Comes Down  2006
The most visible and painful reminder of Floyd Flooding, Tarrytown Mall,
finally came down March 19, 2006.  Once a magnificent commercial crossroads for
Eastern NC, the flooded remains standing in weeds for nearly 6 years was a
demoralizing symbol of the many ways our area suffered a variety of economic losses.
It is being replaced by a Sam's Club and signs of an invigorated economy are emerging.

December 2001: More than two years later
Flooded Houses bought out by FEMA are demolished
This is typical time line for most the thousands of private homes destroyed in the 
flood and purchased eventually by FEMA, property never to be inhabited again.

The Baggett Home

The Strandberg Home

Baggett Home. Photo take the day of the flood, Sept. 16, 1999 with people desperately trying to salvage personal items and furniture as the water continued to rise several more feet. (see link to Candlewood area.).

Baggett Property: June, 2001, nearly two years later, the Baggett house sits empty and derelict, awaiting demolition by the city after the buyout from Fema was approved. It was purchased for approximately $450,000. Like the hundreds of other flooded out homeowners, the Baggetts lived in an apartment for nearly 2 years.

Strandberg home. Next door to Baggetts. Photo take the day of the flood, Sept. 16, 1999 as the water continued to rise several more feet. (see link to Candlewood area.).

Strandberg Property: June 2001. Still a lot of debris......heat ducts, ruined personal effects, etc. are evident nearly two years later as this home awaits in the weeds to be demolished this summer.


The Strandberg Property as it looks now in March 2006

More than 2 years later,
 the flooded houses bought by FEMA for fair market value were finally demolished the week of Christmas 2001.  Both the Baggett and Strandberg homes,  as well as 3 other houses in the neighborhood that were on the creek, were torn down.  The driveways were also removed and the entire area seeded with grass for a very natural effect. Pictures shown of Baggett Property photo above was taken in March 2006


A poignant sign in Old Sparta, between Tarboro and Faukland,
speaks of  the many towns and people who fell through the cracks without aid.

January 2001, 18 months after the flood
First House Demolished in Fema Buyout

January 2001: The first home demolished in the FEMA buyout. The O'Berry home, located
on Stony Creek across from Candlewood, was one of the most damaged homes, with an estimated 20 feet of water sweeping over it, pushing it off its foundation and leaving it hanging in the creek 16 months later. The home has been purchased by the city through FEMA buyout program. This property will be owned by the city and no structure will ever be built upon the property again. It is part of 416 houses in Rocky Mount alone to be purchased and ultimately demolished. Hundreds of families still live in limbo, not knowing when or if their homes will qualify for the buyout and still living in rental houses or with family until decisions are made.

September 19, 1999 knocked off foundation; floodwaters shown here receding after being 4 feet over the roofline.

Typical of the flood damage, The O'berry kitchen was destroyed. This picture was taken in January 2001, exactly like it was 16 months ago after the flood

Finally purchased by Fema, the O'Berry home was the first home in
 Rocky Mount to be purchased and  demolished in January 2001.

November 1999.....Three Months after the Flood

 Hundreds of temporary trailers were brought into Rocky Mount
by FEMA to house just some of the the thousands in the
Rocky Mount-Tarboro area who lost everything and had
no place to go after staying in the shelters.
One year later there are still hundreds of occupants
 This  solution is only meant to be temporary.
Restoring housing is the priority issue with the recovery.
These residents will need to find their own housing by March 2001.

A sign of hope and resolve. 

November 1999, two months after the flood
Clean up crews authorized by FEMA got most of the debris from streets
and yards by Thanksgiving. The man operating this equipment said he had "worked" 
all the storms.....Hugo, Andrew, Fran.....but that he had never seen such devastation
and debris and such people in need in all of his 15 years in this business.

Reinstalling new presses
Walker Ross Printing Company is back!
After receiving more than 60 inches of water in its newly renovated printing plant,
Walker Ross had to lay off  79 employees and try to decide whether
 to build back after suffering a $6.5 million dollar loss to newly
purchased presses, computer systems and additions.
Only days after the flood, owner Miles Wright decided to build back and the
presses were rolling again just 10 weeks later and employee have returned.  
Walker Ross was sold back to former owners and investors and is now
in 2006 operating under the name of Riverside Printing Company
and still considered a premier area printer.

Christmas Eve 1999, 3 months later....
This Bunn Farm Family,
at left with 2 of their 5 children
are living in a very small trailer parked in front of their
flooded home while trying to rebuild their home
that took on 3 feet of water from nearby Stony Creek.
This family is very typical of the thousands of flood victims
who are unable to qualify for ANY substantial FEMA assistance,
yet cannot afford to take on another mortgage payment even at no interest. 

Shown at right is Rocky Mount contractor Johnny High next to Holley Daniel McArthur, presenting a $2500 check to this family the day before Christmas, from a fund raising event that was put together by a group from Charlotte who have close ties with Eastern North Carolina. High  has been working tirelessly to aid this family as well as countless other flood victims through the Rocky Mount and Raleigh Home Builders Association  

Lindy and Pattie Dunn moved back into their Candlewood Rd.
home the week before Christmas.  Still without a working kitchen,
and with only 1 bedroom in livable condition,  they were the first flooded family to move
back in after the flood in the Candlewood area.. 
The Christmas tree in their window was a HUGE morale booster for their neighbors!

If you have pictures and information about recovery efforts, or 
"good news" stories you would like to contribute, 
please contact me by email!

The Trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota
3 months after the flooding in North Carolina
website about Grand Forks Flooding 1997
The wonderful people from Grand Forks, ND learned terrible lessons from their
1997 flood and fire that they wanted to share with people from Eastern North Carolina.
They invited a contingent of community leaders to visit them and see their recovery first hand.

Midway Airlines donated a 50 passenger Jet that transported the participants directly from
Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Aiport to Grand Forks. We left at dawn the morning of November 9.

Telegram publisher Rip Wooden, Tarboro businessman Bob Barnhill, 
Rocky Mount Mayor Fred Turnage, and RM City Manager Steve Raper
board a bus to see the progress Grand Forks is making in building back.

The group was made up of representatives from Rocky Mount, Tarboro, Princeville, and Greenville
as well as representatives from the state government. 
The people of Grand Forks overwhelmed us with hospitality and hope.

Kel  Landis of Rocky Mount, Bob Barnhill and Clark Jenkins of Tarboro, 
and a representative from Grand Forks listen to the speakers tell of the sometime 
heart-rending stories of  despair, faith,  hope and recovery.  
They assured us that we WOULD recover, but that it will take patience and working together.

For the story of  Grand Forks, see the 2 following links:

Alan Drave's Site about The Flooding of Grand Forks 1997

One Year Later after the Flood

Church groups from all over the country have been busy in
Nash and Edgecombe counties for a year now, helping to rebuild houses.
Shown above are trailers set up just to house and feed the thousands of generous 
volunteers of all ages who have come to this area to help. 

The mound of dirt behind this Tar River bridge in 
Tarboro is the infamous dike that is being rebuilt around 
Princeville. The original dike was breached in Floyd's flooding
and wiped out the entire town.

The Discovery Channel production crew from London was in Rocky Mount several times this summer to film the harrowing stories of escape and rescue from the flood. Above are Melody Arnold and her children who barely escaped from their home in Riverside and on the right, Fireman Steve Carey, who is credited with saving many lives, including those of the Arnold family. The documentary, which includes footage of flooding all over the world, will be aired first on the Discovery Health channel October 31 and then later on the regular Discovery Channel at a later date (watch this space for date).

More Pictures soon to come showing the recovery one year later

Recovery Art Auction
November 4, 2000

proceeds go to help rebuild children's programs at 
Rocky Mount Arts Center

This is an excellent site that has a great VIDEO that covers a lot of the news coverage that people in this area were not able to see because of  lack of power.


Building Back Better Creative Team
Wanting to help the community recover, a group of advertising colleagues put their resources
 together and have been instrumental in donating  creating the "Building Back Better Together" 
slogan and marketing campaign that has been adopted by the Area Recovery Committee.  
Meeting once a week since the flood and donating their efforts , they are: 
Don Williams (Lewis Advertising
) Eddie Baysden (Baysden Public Relations), 
Ivan Price and Leonard Veillette (Veillette Printing and Advertising)
and not pictured, Martha Daniel (Daniel Design Associates). Other members are being
recruited and will be assisting with the campaign.