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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Growth in Leland

Most of us are aware of our town’s incredible growth. Just how much and in what areas are grist for an essay. So, let’s get started. 

The 2000 federal census listed just under 2,000 residents. The 2020 census recorded just over 26,000. We are the fastest growing town in the fastest growing community in a fast-growing state! The powers that be claim that’s an average growth of over 7% annually. I say it’s a 1,300% growth in 20 years. Either way, it’s impressive.

Let’s go back to 2000 for a picture of what was here, or rather what was not here. No modern Town Hall, library, Senior Center, park, nature trail, and so forth. No Walmart, Harris Teeter, Lowes, Aldi’s, Waterford, Mallory Creek, Brunswick Forest, Compass Ponte, large medical, veterinary, and dental practices, and so many others. 

Better yet, picture almost nothing except what’s on Village Road. That was pretty much what commercial business was here. Congratulations to them for so many are still present. What else wasn’t here? Traffic lights on Highway 17. Not a single one! We now experience nine commencing southeast coming off the Memorial Bridge to Lanvale Rd. Currently two more SE of that intersection with more to come. The “thrill” of attempting a left turn onto Rt. 17 from Lanvale Rd. is gone. Thankfully.

In 1999 we purchased our lot in Magnolia Greens. It was such a risk that I hesitated, and trepidation set in. Picture almost nothing here and MG being the first and only major development, and my reluctance becomes understandable.  We backed out of our original lot purchase, and when we hesitated and withdrew our deposit because, “Who’s going to buy on Palm Sunday?” Well, somebody did! So, my wise bride proclaimed, “We’re buying a lot.” When we saw it, the road wasn’t even in; we rode in the salesman’s four-wheel drive to see it. Incidentally, recently, we ran into him. He is now selling in another major community.

So, what else illustrates our growth? How about our excellent medical practices? As “New Parts Bob,” who has had two knee replacements and a reverse shoulder replacement in the last two years, I know of what I speak. Our other medical issues have also been received excellent care (disclaimer – some of that has been received in Wilmington).

We all know of the major developments on Highway 17 south that will add thousands of residents. Take a ride on Lanvale, Village, and Old Fayetteville Roads – “mini” developments are proliferating. New stores are another super growth reality. Proximity to the city of Wilmington and all it offers. Enough said. If I left anything out, please forgive me – the list would be quite long.

So why the growth?  Let’s examine the economic aspects first. Number 1 is real estate taxes. We just could not afford the LI taxes; unlike unwilling to pay them – we really couldn’t.  Also, consider energy costs. On LI, we had one of the highest electric rates. Here it’s a bargain. Our auto insurance is half; also, 3% tax on a vehicle purchase compared to almost 9%. We recently purchased a vehicle. The LI tax would have been nearly $2,000 more! Gasoline is 20 cents more per gallon, and heaven help you if you’re a smoker because those things are twice as expensive. Only minuses are alcohol is more expensive, 2% tax on food, and the personal property tax. I think we have a good deal.

On the list comes an area that was an exurb. At the time, that meant uncrowded, light traffic, and farms. Golf courses where a golfer could get a suitable playing time at a reasonable price. Sadly, three of those courses (none in Leland) a short drive away have recently closed. They were replaced by two in Leland, however. Also, in the recreational area, are magnificent nearby beaches – only a short drive for “Lelanders.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two important extras. Excellent air quality. Never mentioned, but as a person who’s last nine years of employment was in a position of improving air quality in one of the most polluted areas in the United States, I can attest to what those ramifications are. It’s no small thing, folks. Lastly was and is the Southern courtesy. It starts with waving hello and greeting people, allowing people to merge into your lane, holding the door for folks, and using a lot of “THANK YOU’s.” And pretty much “getting along.”

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