The Town of Leland turned 28 years old this month. The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people. That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years. Leland is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area – despite its proximity to Wilmington. That was a change a major change for Brunswick County which took effect two years ago.
Arguably, the biggest challenge facing Leland Town Council is dealing with the rapid growth and accompanying infrastructure needs that come with a large influx of people. A quarter of Brunswick County’s population is 65 and over – and it’s likely that Leland, as a retirement destination for Baby Boomers, has a higher-than-average senior population.
The Town Council has four members that serve staggered four-year terms. The Mayor serves a two-year term.
There are five candidates on the ballot for the two open seats. Two of them are incumbents seeking re-election. Initially, three challengers tossed their hats in the ring. Now, one of them, Shirley Lawler, tells us she is not actively pursuing her campaign. We will meet the remaining four candidates this week – three of them on this edition.
Segment 1: Pat Batleman
Pat Batleman has lived in Leland since 2005. She retired after 40 years spent primarily in Washington DC. Her last job was as Executive Assistant to the managing director of The Carlyle Group, a private equity firm.
In 2007, Leland Mayor Walter Futch invited her to serve on the Town’s Code of Ordinances Rewrite Task Force. That led to her decision to run for town council in 2009. She is the current Leland representative on the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Committee. She served as Vice Chairman from 2014-2015. She also serves on the WAVE Transit Operations Committee and is a member of the Transportation Demand Management Task Force, soon to be launched as GO COAST. And she’s a member of the Wilmington Mayor’s Task Force to study the feasibility of Rail Realignment.
Segment 2: Sandra Ford
Sandra Ford has raised two sons and volunteered for the Cub Scouts, PTA boards and swim teams. She has opened and run an art jewelry gallery in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. When the health of her parents started to fail, she sold that business to became their caretaker. Sandra Ford has also worked in real estate. Now, as a Leland resident, she is an environmental advocate with BEAT – Brunswick Environmental Action Team.
Segment 3: Joy Cranidiotis
Joy Cranidiotis was born in Wilmington and raised in Leland. She has a BA in Parks and Recreation Management from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
For 25 years, she worked in Pharmaceutical/Biotech sales and consulting – including for Genentech. She acted as general contractor on her own home in Rivercroft Estates where she also served as the President of the Neighborhood Trustees for nearly 30 years. And she owned and developed a commercial project on Hwy 133.