The extension of Independence Boulevard has been a high priority project since the 1960s. But finding a way to gather funding—while also keeping it in line with federal guidelines, making sure it fits within the Wilmington community, and working around the CSX rail lines—has been a roadblock to the project.
Governor Pat McCrory recently unveiled his new transportation plan. As it stands, southeastern North Carolina is not slated to receive funding for rail improvements.
With the wood pellet industry and Vertex Rail coming to Wilmington, train traffic will increase substantially over the next few years. Yet the state is currently not providing funding to help ease the strain of such a rise in activity or address safety conflicts with vehicular traffic.
Freight traffic in Wilmington will likely increase due to the new Vertex Rail and wood pellet industries. And the city’s population is expected to grow by over 50% in the next 25 years. This creates safety and traffic issues, which the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County are attempting to address. Instead of slowly winding through the city, officials envision a new route cutting across the Cape Fear River directly to the Port.
The debate over film incentives in North Carolina erupted on the public stage last year when two state Representatives – Rick Catlin from New Hanover County and Chris Millis of Pender County – sponsored a bill that would fundamentally change the structure of the tax rebate.
When the state stopped funding Drug Treatment Courts in 2011, New Hanover County stepped up to support the program. To measure effectiveness since that switch, the drug court commissioned an evaluation, which was completed last week. UNCW sociology researchers found marked success, though recidivism rates for drug court clients are widely considered to be hard to gauge.
Drug Treatment Court is an intensive substance abuse program. For those who’ve been convicted of crimes connected with drugs—such as possession or stealing—it can serve as an alternative to prison time.
Brunswick County is likely to see the largest population surge in southeastern North Carolina over the next several decades.
In preparation for this growth, policy makers from the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the regional transportation planning agency with representatives from New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties, are developing a modernized transportation plan to address congestion and what they're calling "enticing" options for the next generation of commuters.
As the populations of Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover Counties continue to swell, accommodating the movement of people and goods requires much more creativity and innovation than just widening roads or building more of them.
Heroin busts have been in the headlines for the past month. Most notably, the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office carried out the second largest heroin bust in the county’s history at the end of October. While busts like these address the supply of drugs, what is being done to reduce demand? The New Hanover County Drug Treatment Court focuses on permanently changing the behavior of addicts.