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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — For years people who live in Wilmington’s Love Grove community have wanted another way out of their neighborhood. Last month’s train derailment that trapped them only added fuel to the fight.

Tonight they’re taking that fight to Wilmington City Council. Their message to city leaders is simple.

“Help us come up with a way to get out of Love Grove,” said Alnita Hannible, who has lived in the community for 14 years.

Lynda McMillan, who has lived in the neighborhood 25 years said, “We need another way out of here.”

But this is an unanswered cry residents have been screaming for years.

“Being trapped is not a good feeling,” Hannible said.

After the train derailment last month , and with almost 100 families’ safety at risk, residents say the city needs to do something now.

“There didn’t seem to be a plan of communication with the people here when the incident happened other than, ‘Whoops. You see a derailment. Stay where you are. We have this covered,'” said Ronald Sparks and engineer and former Wilmington City Councilman.

Crews did build a temporary road for residents to walk in and out of Love Grove while workers tried to rerail the train last month. Walking wasn’t feasible for McMillan, who needed to get to her brother’s wake two states away.

“I couldn’t walk to Georgia,” she said. “I couldn’t walk there.”

She missed the service, because she could not get her car out.

Sparks constructed a plan to build a bridge in the northeast part of the community as a second access point.

“Hopefully this won’t be another 10, 20, 30, 40 year kind of problem,” he said.

But if it is… “All I can say is we better all know where we’re going when we leave this world,” Hannible said.

Tonight Sparks will present to City Council his plan for the bridge along with ideas for where the city can get the funding for the project. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest 4253

    I’m sure she couldn’t.

    Why is that a problem for someone for someone other than a Love Grove resident? Even those residents who’ve lived there for years were aware of this limited access before they moved there. That limited access was part of what made that area a desirable cohesive community. Now that something untoward has happened, these very same residents want the rest of us to bail them out. That’s like someone moving into a residential community near an airport, then complaining about the noise and expect the rest of us to move the airport.

    If they want additional access let them fund it themselves. Sorry if I sound like a hard a$$, but that’s really not my problem. Times are tough and enough is enough.

  • Guest45

    Yeah and when we spend a billion dollars getting Ms. McMillan a second entrance to her community she’ll be back on complaining of to much traffic thru her neighborhood, people if you want a change, are you willing to pay for it out of your “own” pocket? or do you think the taxpayer’s should foot the bill for it?

  • Guest 10101

    Gee, I wonder who’d like to get back on the City Council. Do you think it might possibly be Ronald Sparks?

  • Peepers

    There’s only one way out for thousands on Pleasure Island. There’s only one way out for residents of Wrightsville Beach. There’s only one way out for hundreds of NHC neighborhoods including mine. So is it now Governments job to insure every citizen has 2 ways out of their neighborhood? Just asking!

  • Vog46

    But in THIS case this is a land based community with roads nearby that they COULD connect to. And does Wrightsville Beach and Topsail Island have railroad tracks with large numbers of tanker cars carrying flammable liquids going by?
    No, they don’t.

    I think this neighborhood has a legitimate concern


  • ClarendonParkResident

    The issue is not 1 entrance but rather the fact that the single entrance has a railroad crossing and most recently a tranker with toxic gas derailed trapping the residents. So, yes it is the government’s job to ENSURE that the citizens have a say way to evacuate at ALL times.

  • RSimmons

    Funny, according to the city and county tax rolls “those” people in Love Grove are taxpayers. They have been trying to get another access as far back as I can remember and in the meantime the city has spent millions of dollars in other neighborhoods.


    It is obvious the two previous comments have nothing to do with concern about access or lack thereof for residents in Love Grove!

  • Guest 4253

    We don’t have concern about YOUR access. YOU moved there. YOU knew the deal. One incident and you think the rest of us should pay for you? Lots of neighborhoods with one way in and out. Do you plan on paying for them to have multiple access too or is it just you that’s so special?

  • Vog46

    with the residents

    They say timing is everything:

    I think the Wilmington incident coupled with the tragedy in Canada (whatever the cause – criminal probe is underway) – indicates these folks should be provided with a second way out


  • Fed Up


    I was thinking the same thing. The issue is not multiple entrances. The issue was toxic gas carrying tankers trapping residents in their homes. TAX PAYING RESIDENTS! That is the communities problem not just the people that live in Love Grove. I bet if his one way in community had any problem he would be the first person on the news demanding help. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP that way no one will know how ignorant you really are.

    Fed Up!

  • Fed Up

    This is the most ignorant comment that could ever get posted. Buy a clue with your tax dollars!

  • Guest999

    You are totally missing the point. The one entrance that the residents have has a railway crossing. DUH! The need for another entrance. I’m sure no one that lived there signed up to be trapped by a derailed tanker with toxic gas!

  • Fed Up

    The issue is not tax dollars, the need for another entrance/exit, where people chose to live. The issue is safety. Being trapped by a moving toxic bomb is in no shape nor form safe. Try putting yourself in their shoes. Regardless of where someone chooses to live they have the RIGHT to be safe. Those to ignorant to acknowledge that fact should really keep quiet so no one knows how stupid they really are!

    Fed UP


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