Floodproofing Herman Park Center and adding a generator so that it could serve as an emergency shelter is one of the ideas to emerge from ongoing disaster planning meetings.
Planning consultants hired by the state say the goal is not only to find ways to prevent future flooding, but to make the county more resilient, and to address bigger picture issues.
The legislature authorized the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 that includes some funding to go into the 50 most-impacted counties, and to try to come up with resilient development plans.
The meetings are being co-hosted by Wayne County and N.C. Emergency Management and conducted by consultants with AECOM, a global infrastructure firm the state contracted with to manage the planning process for N.C. Emergency Management.
The plan looks at four areas -- housing, economic development, infrastructure and environment.
"We are also looking at agriculture since it is an important industry to the county," said Christine Graziano, lead AECOM planner for the county.
Ms. Graziano gave a brief PowerPoint presentation Thursday night highlighting some of the possible project raised thus far.
Potential housing project ideas include buyouts and house elevations and meeting the possible funding gaps between Federal Emergency Management Agency funding and the actual costs, she said.
Ms. Graziano said they have also heard there is a gap in affordable rental housing.
Some houses are not being repaired or the landlord is increasing the rent once the house is repaired, Ms. Graziano said.
"We have heard people are facing challenges maintaining homes," she said. "So we want to make sure they have funds to keep them up and prevent flooding in the future."
Potential economic development projects include working with businesses that have suffered structural damage and are having difficulties in retaining employees.
Seven Springs was "incredibly impacted" by the flooding, she said.
"So part of what we are looking at are ways to attract new businesses there to keep it operating especially as many residents are moving out of that area," she said.
That is needed to help the tax base so that the county's oldest town can continue to operate, she said.
Other project ideas include trail and river facility development, particularly in the Seven Springs area, to bring more money into the county, she said. Buyout property in Seven Springs could be developed into a campground, she said. It would also look at stabilizing those open areas, she said.
Potential infrastructure projects include unmanned floodgates for streets to keep people from going to areas that routinely flood and to keep the water out, Ms. Graziano said.
That could help keep vehicles from being stuck on flooded streets, she said.
Several shelters did not have access to generators. That needs to be addressed with both fixed and portable generators, Ms. Graziano said.
Another potential project is floodproofing and repair of wastewater treatment plants.