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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Back in March, a Wilmington resident was on a mission to clean up her neighborhood. Often times, Lola James was left alone to clean up everything from broken glass to paper bags. But today, she says the trash problem has gotten worse and she is fed up with the filth.

It was seven months ago, when James first came to us. She was leading an effort of cleaning up the trash in her neighborhood.

When we followed up with James Friday, she told us the situation has gotten even worse.

“Now we’ve got people coming in, dumping tires, dumping trash,” James said.

The trash problem has gotten so bad, James has decided to move.

“Everybody steps ahead,” she said. “I can’t stay in the same position. I have to move on.”

In a quick walk through Princess Place Drive and Evans Street, the litter problem is very apparent. From empty beer bottles to even a basketball goal, trash is rampant. James says different groups have come in to clean up, but their work is not maintained. So she’s asking for the city’s help.

“I’ve talked to code enforcement. I’ve talked to ATF. I’ve talked to the police department,” James said. “What more can you do?”

So we dug for answers ourselves. Mayor Bill Saffo tells us he’s aware of the problem.

“We’ve had 45 cases of code enforcement cases that our staff has gone out to investigate,” he said. “Thirty-five of those cases have been closed. We have ten that are currently pending.”

Saffo says a lot of the responsibility of cleaning up falls on the landlord.

“We have an exorbitant amount of landlords, either state landlords or landlords that do not live in this particular area, and when tenants move out a lot of times they’ll leave their debris on the side of the road,” Saffo said.

Despite who’s responsible for the clean-up, James says a solution needs to come quickly.

“I’m pleading with the mayor, City Council, maybe themselves need to come and walk through and see what we see,” she said.

“I respect people like Lola James and others that take it upon themselves to call the city and see what we can do to make sure these people are cleaning up their property,” Saffo said.

James tells us different groups have come in to clean up but their work is not maintained.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest2012

    “James tells us different groups have come in to clean up but their work is not maintained.” DUH!

    She also called ATF. Is she totally nuts. Why would she call ATF? Was it because she saw empty beer cans amongst the litter that her neighbors leave on vacant lots?

    Gee Whiz! I wish “Different Groups” would come on into MY NEIGHBORHOOD and clean up!!!

    But, as a result of being raised properly, our entire community must not think it is “someone else’s responsibility” to CLEAN UP in our community. We do it ourselves!

    And, furthermore, we would be 100% AWARE of illegal dumping after it happened ONE TIME… and we would catch the culprits and tie them to their beat up mattresses or abandoned washing machine until the cops arrived. Hell, we may even pelt them with rotten eggs, but we would never call the Mayor or ATF. Glad she finally wised up and decided to move, which is logical.

  • Brian

    Trash will always live with trash around them. You can’t change that.

  • William Walton

    If most of the problems are due to landlords not cleaning up after tenants, then the city should put a lien on the property and fine them.

    Landlords take security deposits for a reason. If the tenant left without removing their trash, keep the deposit. The landlord has no grounds to dispute at this point.

  • Freedom Of Speech

    I applaud her zeal, yet I fear she is choosing to fight a losing battle. There is no way one person can accomplish this. It is going to take the proverbial “village” to put a halt to the root problem. You must first slow down the accumulation before you can reverse it.

    I truly hope that she does not surrender her fight.

  • Jim Loehb

    Why is the burden to keep streets and rented property the responsibility of the LANDLORD? As long as the responsibility is not
    the tenants, NOTHING will ever be kept clean.

    If the landlord has a clause in the rental agreement that the tenant is responsible and the city over rides the contract, what else can anyone expect.

    It’s the case the responsible parties are not responsible.

    Another form of government stupidity.

    You go Lola

  • Gueston

    Saffo is aware but doesn’t care, you don’t need a non caring mayor, vote him out and get someone who cares.


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