WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVNS) – Lloyd Haynes remembers Thursday, June 23, 2016, like it was yesterday.
“It seemed like at the time that it was a third-world country. It didn’t look like the White Sulphur Springs that I knew,” said Haynes.
Haynes, now the City Manager, was the Mayor of White Sulphur Springs in 2016 when the thousand-year flood that hit the city left cars floating in the streets, homes destroyed, and loved ones lost.
But six years later, the city is thriving again, with a bustling downtown area, and a community bond made even stronger by the hard times they faced together.
One project that symbolizes life after the flood in White Sulphur Springs is Hope Village. It is a place for the community to come together, for people to live, and for a bright new future for the town of White Sulphur Springs, even after the devastating flood.
What is interesting about Hope Village, and a lot of the rebuilding that has happened in White Sulphur Springs, is that they have made changes to their infrastructure, to make sure that flooding, if it ever happens again, is not so devastating.
“There’s been a monitoring device that has been put on the stream so that we can monitor it and know before it gets to the point where we’re having a flood, what we have to do,” said Haynes.
In addition to building most houses well off the ground, Hayes said the city has also worked to ensure the health of the banks of its creeks and streams which helps prevent the erosion that allows flooding to happen.
He went on to add he watches the flooding folks all across the state continue to face, and he has a message for communities who do not see any way they can recover.
“When things get bad you think of the worst, and you think you can’t come out of it, you know, it’s the end. But it’s not the end,” said Haynes. “You have to figure out what can be done and work toward that end. And believe me, if people see the need, they will help.”