Windsor’s future hangs in balance

Published 8:41 am Thursday, October 21, 2010

The last time the local area became the short-term residence for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, an entire neighborhood in Ahoskie and a mobile home park on the outskirts of town each became part of our collective memories.

While we still have strong feelings for the loss of those homes, part of a buyout program instituted by FEMA, we rejoice in the fact that those families, if allowed to rebuild, would not have to suffer the emotional and financial distress of having to deal with another flood.

Today, the Ahoskie Creek Recreational Complex stands in that once happy neighborhood. That area was flooded again exactly three weeks ago today, only this time the damage was confined to an athletic venue and not homes.

What unfolded in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd in 1999, referred to back then as a “500-year” flooding event, was horrific. The blood, sweat and tears of many families to build their dream home, raise their children there and remain part of a close-knit neighborhood was gone in one night.

Now, 11 years later we’ve witnessed yet another history-making flood. And for the second time in a little more than a decade we’ve seen the town of Windsor, both downtown and in residential neighborhoods, hit hard. Some residents and business owners there were just recovering from Floyd and now they face another major rebuilding effort.

What if some choose not to repair their homes and move to higher ground, perhaps out of town or, worse, out of the county?

What if some of Windsor’s downtown business owners opt not to reopen? Tragically, those family-owned businesses, complete with their trademark friendly smiles and community spirit, will be lost forever.

Last week, the Windsor Town Commissioners said they would begin the process of studying what can be done to control the Cashie River’s flooding problems. We encourage them to enter this task with open minds and take any and all advice under consideration. The future of Windsor is depending on a well thought-out plan.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald