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Old 09-03-2015, 02:38 PM
 
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Considering a move to Wilmington and I've heard good things about Sunset Park. We want to live in the city. We have two toddler girls in tow so being close to parks/schools/etc is the idea. We'll be sharing a car and my wife wants to be able to walk places with the kids while I'm at work. If not Sunset Park, can anyone shed some light on other good spots in the city (and which ones to avoid)... thanks in advance.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:58 AM
 
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I'm going to give you a history lesson to understand Sunset Park (because someone else may find it beneficial as well)...

Sunset Park was THE original suburb of downtown Wilmington. It has a nice makeup to it and has always been one of those "potential" spots in Wilmington. It has Greenfield Lake and Legion Stadium essentially within it, which adds to its appeal with the Amphitheater and Hammerheads games (as well as the Sharks).

Now we get to the problems. After Greenfield Lake was built during the depression era...Wilmington started building public housing...and a lot of it is on the opposite side of Greenfield Lake from Sunset Park....which of course made Greenfield Lake less desirable than it should be. And as World War 2 hit and Wilmington became a huge war port where ships were made...it brought a ton of low level labor workers to the area directly around the port, which is just to the South of Sunset Park.

That was essentially two huge blows to Sunset Park. And its never fully recovered. During the historic rehabilitation boom of the 80's and 90's, Sunset Park was active, especially with the Film Industry crowd but there was too much work to do to revitalize it by then.

I'd say I can't recommend it for those with Toddlers...I would recommend it for an empty nest single person or couple that likes to fix up old houses...its not that its unsafe, but it always has that potential to be. Its just unfortunate...and the school in Sunset Park suffers from the demographics. Its also too far to be walking distance to downtown Wilmington.

The way to fix Sunset Park would be...1) Develop the vacant land near the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge. 2) Remove the Houston Moore Public Housing Complex (which is the worst in the City) 3) Continue to re-develop the Port Area with VERY active code enforcement and re-zoning into industrial uses. The residential in that area holds back the Port (see link)...

Vertex Rail to bring 1,300 jobs, $60M investment to Wilmington - Port City Daily

In this case the (non Sunset Park) neighborhood had issues with a secondary access through their neighborhood, causing the industry to have to build a new road to it. In reality the housing build there is sub standard and is only there because of the port. It would be better if it just went away entirely to allow industry to grow around the main Port in North Carolina. If so, Sunset Park, with its Historic designation could thrive, IMO...

I should probably add #4) If the State would renew the Historic Tax Credit program...which the City has pushed for.

Last edited by HP91; 09-04-2015 at 08:28 AM..
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Old 09-04-2015, 08:15 AM
 
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Excellent post, HP.
Sunset Park, like the Greenfield Lake neighborhoods, looks good on paper, even looks pretty good if you drive through a little of it during the day, HOWEVER I have longtime friends who live there (they're both ex-Marines, fwiw) who have to always remember to keep everything locked up 24/7 because there are always transients or winos or crack heads who will steal anything that's not nailed down on their property.
My son played baseball at Godwin Field, on the south side of Sunset Park, for a couple of years not too long ago. We heard gunfire in the neighborhood on more than one occasion.
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Old 09-04-2015, 08:42 AM
 
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i would try to drop some of your current living assumptions and not try to transplant them down here

our cities are very walkable unfriendly, there isn't much of a livable downtown culture yet. Downtown wilmington is mostly a nightlife and tourist district.

Many of the downtown districts are blighted or struggling

there are lots of pretty historic houses in wilmington getting into downtown but they're not really walkable to much (as i recall)

Don't run out and buy a second car but I would have some reservations about planning on getting by with 1 car and finding some dense livable downtown area that can meet all your needs (shopping, food, entertainment, school etc.)

on the other hand this seems to be changing and if you can find that right place that will grow into that....good for you!
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:16 AM
 
2,399 posts, read 3,354,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hey_guy View Post
i would try to drop some of your current living assumptions and not try to transplant them down here

our cities are very walkable unfriendly, there isn't much of a livable downtown culture yet. Downtown wilmington is mostly a nightlife and tourist district.

Many of the downtown districts are blighted or struggling

there are lots of pretty historic houses in wilmington getting into downtown but they're not really walkable to much (as i recall)

Don't run out and buy a second car but I would have some reservations about planning on getting by with 1 car and finding some dense livable downtown area that can meet all your needs (shopping, food, entertainment, school etc.)

on the other hand this seems to be changing and if you can find that right place that will grow into that....good for you!
The funny thing about Wilmington is that "city" feel you get the first time you drive in on Market Street to Downtown is what ATTRACTS people to Wilmington. And then we tell them "but don't live there".

I'm just saying, don't live there...with Toddlers. Mainly because of the schools...and I offered the OP on another thread the school options they would use if they want to live with a "city" feel. I lived downtown at one time (with no kids) and considered it again with just one...but went instead to Lincoln Forest and then Pine Valley, which are more suburban in nature. But both are walkable and close to commercial and have schools and are now on the Cross City Trail.

If I was single with no kids, I would be living either downtown or in the Carolina Heights area. There is a market for it...as shown by the South Front Apartment Community. Just not very kid friendly (as most downtown living in any city is not).
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,250 posts, read 19,768,765 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HP91 View Post
I'm just saying, don't live there...with Toddlers. Mainly because of the schools...and I offered the OP on another thread the school options they would use if they want to live with a "city" feel.
I have great respect for HP91's experience with the city. As far as I can tell the kids from the public housing across Greenfield Lake would attend Alderman Elementary.

Sunset Park Elementary gets average (but not terrific) achievement scores. I had also recommended Holly Tree, Parsley or Bradley Creek Elementary school areas. I would suggest looking for houses near Hugh McRae Park and the shopping on Oleander. Schools zone maps here: http://apps.schoolsitelocator.com/in...rictCode=74381
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by goldenage1 View Post
I have great respect for HP91's experience with the city. As far as I can tell the kids from the public housing across Greenfield Lake would attend Alderman Elementary.

Sunset Park Elementary gets average (but not terrific) achievement scores. I had also recommended Holly Tree, Parsley or Bradley Creek Elementary school areas. I would suggest looking for houses near Hugh McRae Park and the shopping on Oleander. Schools zone maps here: SchoolSite Locator
You are correct in that some of the public housing on the other side of 16th St is fed into Alderman, which has caused the school to decline. I moved from Lincoln Forest (Alderman) to Pine Valley because of that decline. The folks in the South Oleander neighborhood had the money for private schools.

I would agree with the statement that Sunset Park Elementary is doing the best they can. One could live in Sunset Park and go to the Charter school Cape Fear Center for Inquiry (CFCI), which is near the Carolina Beach Rd/Shipyard intersection.
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:28 PM
 
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Sunset is fine, but get your Kids in private school. Schools are just the reason I'm heading out of the area in a few months as private has just broke our bank. Been in child social work my entire adult life...So take this advice as serious as you can from a forum responder that you know nothing about lol. There are a few good schools in New Hanover county, but the county loves to play with district lines and politics a lot, so you could be moved just when you think you have it all figured out. I like the whole stability factor for kids and it's just not that dependable in Wilmington, but all jokes aside, there are some outstanding private schools and if you've got only one kid it shouldn't be too big of a deal. Take care.
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