WILMINGTON — Sometime in the late 1980s, then–Wilmington Town Manager Sonia Alexander asked if I would paint the 1938 flood level on the side of the Town Hall. I was happy to do so, and it immediately drew interest of locals and visitors as we thought about an important part of our history.
A few days after Tropical Storm Irene I checked with the town and was given permission (encouraged, actually) to paint the new, higher level. It marked the hardship that we had all just lived through in a very meaningful and emotional way and, again, was a focal point for residents and visitors.
People were amazed at the height of the water and literally thousands of photos have been taken of the levels. Locals bring visitors to look at it as they explain what we lived through.
The Town Hall has just been repainted a lovely light blue. Having heard nothing about repainting the flood levels, I emailed Scott Tucker, the town manager, about doing so.
He replied that the town wanted a “clean slate” and the levels would not be put back.
Truthfully, I was taken by surprise, and not in a good way.
Why wouldn't we want to acknowledge two huge events in our town's history which impacted so many locals and second-home owners and is so interesting to visitors? I really can't think of a reason for eliminating this marking of our history.
In some ways, this “clean slate” might be considered just a little thing - but not to me. The flood levels represent the hardships that our town has gone through and the strength, resiliency, and perseverance that many of us had (and are still having) to overcome them. It represents what we did as a community to pull together.
I want it acknowledged on the outside of our town office - a building that belongs to all of us. It is our history and shouldn't be just erased to make the slate clean.
If you agree with me, please let the town manager know. If enough of you take a minute or two to voice your opinion, perhaps we can change minds and restore this historical marker. Please encourage others to do the same.