Possible return date for Jervay community released after demands by neighbors


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hurricane season is one month away. For dozens of neighbors in the Jervay community, they still feel the impacts of hurricane Florence.
Neighbors say no one has returned to the community after they were forced to vacate.

On Tuesday a spokesperson for Jervay only would tell WWAY’s Andrew James that, “they are working to get the units repaired”. They would not provide an official timeline that outlined when neighbors may be allowed to return.

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Nearly 6 months since the community had to be cleared out because of water damage, neighbors have gone to community leaders in the 29th voting precinct in inner city Wilmington. Those precinct officials have in turn have come together to request city leaders pay more attention to the ongoing issue.

“We are still in the fight of our lives,” said Acquanetta McNeil who was one of many displaced residents.

McNeil took that fight to city leaders asking they step up to prevent what happened in Jervay from happening again following a storm. This comes as she and several neighbors tells us they don’t have a steady place to live.

“We’re still getting the same answer, it’s more or less I don’t know now,” said McNeil.

McNeil has called Jervay home since it was built 15 years ago. She now lives in Columbus County and commutes to work in New Hanover County. This is all happening now months later than what she and other neighbors initially heard from complex officials. Neighbors in Jervay tell WWAY they were told that they would be back by March.

“We have been left, it’s like we have been left high and dry and it’s like nobody cares,” said McNeil.

McNeil and other neighbors are at their wits ends, they’re now seeking help from community leaders.

“They told us that they couldn’t find their personal items,” said E.B. Davis Sr. “And one lady had expressed that she had thought about killing herself and all this and so it was just horrendous.”

Davis Sr. and other Democratic Party leaders reached out to city council. Councilman Kevin O’Grady confirmed with WWAY that the community’s owner, Telesis Corporation, has responded to the city. An email sent by the corporation’s attorney was given to the Democratic Party and it revealed the timeline of ongoing repairs at Jervay. The attorney informed O’Grady and city staff that some residents could be able to return to Jervay in June.

“My sense of it is that they are dealing with the same problems that our local residents are dealing with in trying to get the insurance money so that they can get their houses repaired,” said O’Grady.

An image inside the Jervay apartment of Acquanetta McNeil (PHOTO: Acquanetta McNeil)

Hollis Briggs challenges what was sent to city officials by Telesis. He says neighbors like McNeil have returned to apartments that are still gutted of interior walls and flooring. McNeil provided WWAY with a short video showing the interior of the apartment.

“We’ve lived here most of our lives, we work here and we want to be treated fairly just like everybody else,” said McNeil who spoke before council Tuesday asking for more planning be done to help low-income residents.

Brendella Blanks with Jervay also informed WWAY that she was not aware of any delays impacting the repair process. The information given to city officials by Telesis showed there was one issue with insurance still hindering repairs to the Jervay Community Center.