BY MYA S. BRYANT OF VOYAGE YOUTH LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
On August 21, 2018, 6:30 p.m., the Voyage Youth Leadership Council will present to Wilmington City Council and request that the City restore lights, water and include restrooms in the Portia Mills Hines Park. Over the past five months, the Youth Council has been asking the community to support our initiative by signing a petition to have lights, water and restrooms put in the park.
Portia Hines Park is a city owned park located with the Northside Community near the former James Walker Hospital. In the mid to late 70’s, park facilities included a tennis court and water fountain. In 1975, Portia Mills Hines moved to Wilmington from Washington, D.C. where she was appointed to the President’s Council on Drug Abuse in 1974. Ms. Hines was a political activist, civic leader, and Northside resident who opened North Carolina’s first Therapeutic Drug Facility here in Wilmington.
Over the years, Northside residents and W-29 made many recommendations to the City to refurbish the existing tennis court and park. To resident’s disappointment, this request went unfulfilled. As a result, the park became a haven for gangs and drug activity. Thereafter, the City removed the amenities that would serve our neighborhood park. In September 2011, a resolution was passed by the City of Wilmington to rename Tenth Street Park in honor of Portia Mills Hines.
In 2012, the park was renovated by the Blue Ribbon Commission to include playground structure, benches, picnic tables and a “Born Learning Trail”. Today, Portia Hines Park is one on the most used neighborhood parks in the city of Wilmington. There are a number of events hosted in the park, and it also serves as a hub for community fellowship. Annual events hosted at the park include Support the Port’s “Stop the Violence, Start the Peace” campaign, and the “Yam Jam”. New Hanover Regional Medical Center, YMCA and Voyage Community Council hosted the first ever series of “Dancin in the Park”, and Movie Nights in the Park are sponsored activities that are hosted in the park.
Not having water, sufficient lighting and restroom facilities remain to be a hindrance. Imagine paying to rent the park for an organized event and in turn being required to rent Rent a Johns, generators, and a water station to ensure that guests and community members will not have to leave to go somewhere to use a bathroom.
Although the 2016 Parks Bond does not include Portia Hines Park, we, the Voyage Youth Leadership Council are hoping to make a positive change within our community by requesting the city to put the much needed lights, water and restrooms in the park. To date, we have collected approximately 1200 signatures of community member and public officials in support of our initiative.
If you would like to support our initiative by signing the petition or for more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.