After Hurricane Floyd, floodwaters from the Tar River broke the town's protective dike in seven places.
Princevilledecided to repairthe dike instead of taking a federal buyout that might have broken up the historic town founded by ex-slaves. That reconstruction is now under way.
"They're removing the shrubbery, some of the grasses, the trees that have grown up around the toe of the dike itself, and on the sides of the dike," says project manager Doug Greene.
It is the next stage that had crews a little nervous.
The missing element was a specific type of clay that water cannot penetrate. Just a few days ago, the construction company found two sources in Rocky Mount and Pinetops.
Everything is full-steam ahead now, but the completion date will be delayed. Crews had hoped to finish by June 1, the start of hurricane season. Now, they are hoping it is complete by the end of June.
Overall, Princeville leaders say things are looking up. Tuesday, President Clinton appointed a committee to help the town recover. They are not sure how much money, if any, that will mean. But leaders do expect it to speed up the recovery process.
"We don't have to search for a lot of things that we're searching for. They're going to be readily available to us and we can just go forward," says Princeville spokesperson Kimberly Burwell.
They hope it will ease the burden of a recovery that will take years to complete.