Princeville Renovation Project Back On Track
Posted April 26, 2006 9:01 a.m. EDT
PRINCEVILLE, N.C. — A town nearly destroyed by Hurricane Floyd is getting a second chance for major renovations.
Last year, it appeared Princeville could lose a $350,000 grant because some town leaders and Department of Transportation officials could not come to an agreement. Since then, the town has seen some changes and it appears the money is back on the table.
In 1999, Floyd left nearly the entire town underwater. Lifelong residents like Donnie McClellan are ready to see this mark disappear.
"We need to get a little better organized, get together, and I feel like things are on the right track now," said McClellan.
The town qualified for the grant to turn the old, flooded Town Hall into a history museum in 2000. The DOT rejected its first plan, saying Princeville hired a contractor without getting proper approval.
"It should have been done a long time ago, but as in any municipality, every now and then you run into a stumbling block," said project director Sam Knight.
The DOT offered to give the town its money last summer if leaders would just resubmit new bids. The town's mayor at that time, Pricilla Everette Oates, refused, and the project was put on hold. Residents have since reelected a different mayor -- the one who led them through the flood.
"The new mayor has helped things move along tremendously," said Knight. "She has really taken the lead role, so to speak, in making this happen."
This week, commissioners voted to sign a new contract, this time agreeing to work closely with the DOT on bidding.
"We're on the move again, and this time we want to get this project completed," said Knight
Because of the long delay, some town leaders say renovating the old Town Hall could cost nearly $300,000 more than originally expected. Coming up with the difference could be the next challenge for this project.
Local leaders expect to finalize plans with the DOT and begin renovating the old Town Hall in the next few months. They hope to open the new museum within a year.