Community Investments & Resources

New Hanover County is making several investments in the community to provide equitable resources for residents, increase stability for families, and give children and adults strong foundations to thrive. In addition to Port City United, other community initiatives are underway or upcoming, and those are outlined in the tabs below. This is a multi-year plan that will continue to evolve as the community needs change. The overarching goal is to connect individuals and families with the resources they need, build trusted relationships throughout the community, and show true care to every person.

  • Design and build a grocery story on the Northside of downtown Wilmington, which is designated as a food desert, that will provide neighbors with a nearby and convenient location to access fresh food and create job opportunities. Access to food is a necessary for a person’s health and overall wellbeing, so partnering with the Northside Food Co-op to operate the grocery store once it is built will help ensure food security and bring a valuable and needed resource to the community. Over the next month, the county hopes to confirm and finalize the site location for the store, through a land donation from the City of Wilmington, and begin working to engage a consultant and design team who will assist with the project.  
  • Add four new school resource officers (SRO) in downtown elementary schools that do not already have a dedicated SRO, including Snipes Academy of Arts and Design, Forest Hills Global Elementary, Rachel Freeman School of Engineering, and International School at Gregory.
  • Provide threat assessment training to all school resource and parks resource officers for increased awareness and response to a variety of school violence threats.
  • Increase the capacity of the Sheriff’s Office evidence-based Elements program to alleviate the current waitlist for children in need of the service and allow for additional children to be served.
  • Expand Community Justice Services’ evidence-based Too Good For Violence program into high schools to help address social and emotional needs of students.
  • Fund the design of a new boarding school operated by Leading Into New Communities (LINC) to provide stability, education opportunities (high school diploma or GED), and trade preparation and training for youth and young adults, ages 16 to 21, who have previous criminal justice involvement, gang involvement, are on supervision, and/or those who have committed crimes. The county, it its overall plan, will also help support LINC with some of the boarding school’s capital and operating expenses over the coming years.
  • Expand the county-funded Pre-K program with six additional Pre-K classes within New Hanover County Schools, starting in the 2022-2023 school year. This will provide 90 more children each year with the opportunity to begin their educational journeys sooner, setting them up for life-long success academically, socially, and emotionally. This funding is in addition to the six Pre-K classes already funded by the county, for a total of 12 classes.
  • For older students and adults, starting in the fall of 2023, the county will work Cape Fear Community College to help eliminate barriers that might have previously kept someone from attending. This includes covering the cost of attendance or making sure needs like transportation and childcare are met so that individuals can further their education or work to hone skills in a specific trade. Additional information on how to qualify will be shared once the support program is finalized.
  • In addition to the county’s ongoing non-county agency funding commitment as part of the yearly budget, an additional $1.2 million will be allocated to nonprofits who have evidence-based programs to help combat violence and provide wrap-around services to individuals and families. The funding is intended for capacity building so the nonprofits can increase their services in the community and will begin in Fiscal Year 2023. Additional information will be shared about the nonprofit criteria and expected outcomes when the application process is finalized.
  • In Fiscal Year 2023, the county will fund an additional 14 School Resource Officers to ensure all schools have the presence of SROs, who will prioritize developing trusted relationships with students. In addition, the county will invest in an opportunity to increase the presence of adults on school buses, to develop additional relationships and have another continuous, trusted presence to and from school.
Port City United 320 Chestnut Street, Suite 627 • Wilmington, NC 28401
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