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.