GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — If you drive north of the Tar River in Greenville, you’ll find empty parking lots and dilapidated buildings.

The areas that look run down and left alone are exactly what the city wants to change.

They’re working to get retail businesses in the area and while they have plans, the last few months were difficult.

Greenville City Council Member Kandie Smith represents residents north of the river. She said the flooding during Hurricane Matthew slowed down progress.

“There’s been challenges because we know we just had the flood and that has set us back,” said Smith. “Like we move one step forward, and we go three steps back. We’re still fighting. We’re not letting it go.”

The images of Hurricane Matthew left a lot of businesses hesitant to plant roots in the area.

But for those who live north of the river, they say something needs to be done.

Loman Jones used to live north of the river and said the area is “totally forgotten.”

“It needs to be more things, more development, better housing, better everything over here,” said Jones.

The city says they’re working on it.

A consultant will work to develop the area and decide how to market the neighborhood.

Officials said they won’t give up on development north of the river no matter what obstacles come in their way.

“I live across the river,” said Smith. “I’m a resident. It benefits them, but it also benefits me. I would love to be able to come out and go to the drug store that’s very close instead of coming back across the river. I have a lot of seniors that live in my area across the river, and I have a lot of people who are challenged sometimes with transportation so to go so far makes it very difficult for them. So I’m going to do everything that I can to continue to push development on that side.”

There is no timetable on when things will start to move forward.

Smith did say some businesses already in the area have agreed to expand.