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ONLY ON 3: MLK Parade move creates split along Castle Street

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- There's been a lot of debate about the new route this year's Martin Luther King Jr. Parade took through Wilmington last week.

You've probably heard about issues downtown businesses had with the move to Front Street, but there are also complaints from the parade's old route.

This year's MLK Day Parade was a big hit with more people than ever coming out to enjoy it as it moved from its traditional route on Castle Street to a new path down Front and Water streets.

The celebration committee considered the logistics and locations before making the move.

"It was really becoming a bottleneck down on Castle Street," parade organizer Hollis Briggs said. "Then after we did all that planning, the parade only went eight blocks."

Organizers say they knew there would be some who felt slighted by the move.

"We worked hard on the move, and we knew there would be a little bit of people who didn't want to move, but you have to move," Briggs said. "If you want change, it is not easy."

The parade location changed, and Castle Street has changed, too. It's now the home to antique and vintage shops.

Some in the community understand the parade switch.

"It got bigger, and Castle Street can't hold it no more," Joseph Faulk said.

But some residents of the neighborhood do not like the move.

"I really think it should have stayed where it was, because generations of kids really wouldn't know what happened back then," David Faulk said. "As far as moving, it should have stayed where it was."

Sylvester Armstrong said, "As long as I remember, it's been here on Castle Street like a moveable landmark; something everyone looks forward to, and for them to move it is really a disgrace."

While some on Castle miss the parade, the organizers see Front Street as their future.

"About 48 hours after the parade, we had 11 marching bands signed up for next year," Briggs said.

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