Crowded town hall addresses needs of Wilmington’s northside neighborhood

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —¬†The list is long for the needs of neighbors and families in north Wilmington. That’s why many of them packed an inner city church to come together seeking solutions to better the community.

No public leaders or police called this meeting. Neighbors and community advocates gathered to start the conversation to find real solutions for bettering the standard of living for north Wilmington.

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“I think they definitely do want to see change and that’s why they’re here tonight,” said Marissa Bryant who works as a health equity outreach coordinator with New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

North Wilmington neighbors, advocates, and community leaders drew up the problems of the area and laid out solutions.

“94 percent of the community said that they do want to be healthy but you have to think of all the barriers that inhibit them,” said Bryant pointing to a survey from NHRMC.



On the northside, neighbors say they are endangered by gentrification and a lack of voice to advocate for the same quality of living as any other taxpayers in the city.

“Our parks on the northside are not taken care of like parks are in other areas,” said Gail Fulton.

The conversation is a direct result of a study conducted by the New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s northside community initiative. A recent study the medical center sheds light on the many struggles on the northside.

“Housing is a huge issue, food is a huge issue for the northside,” Bryant said. “We’re also hoping to talk about community relations as a whole. How we can all come together to move forward.”

With the ears of city and county leaders, neighbors were able to directly say what’s needed. A grocery store, improvements to Portia Hines Park, and more options to get families and neighbors together were all brought up. A new idea proposed by one city leader was a neighborhood trail.

“If they came out and walked around the neighborhood they’d say ‘oh the northside is not this crazy place that I read about, it’s very nice,'” said city councilman Paul Lawler.

It’s the first step to tackle a long list of needs, but it was a strong showing that the northside wants to see change.

“To be at this meeting tonight shows that they are interested and want to help,” said Fulton.

Many neighbors hope more town halls come out of this one.

The Voyage Community Council meets the first and third Wednesday evenings at the Hemmenway Community Center off Red Cross Street.