A contingent of Ivanhoe residents calmly and resolutely voiced concerns this week in the wake of a days-long period in which parts of the town became islands in southern Sampson. They urged county and state officials to help them so that they might not be in the same predicament when the next storm rolled around.
“Our community of Ivanhoe has always been extremely self-sufficient because we are so far from towns and help, and we have always come together as a community to help each other,” said Donna Sykes of Ivanhoe Road. “But during this Florence storm, we found that we actually need some outside help. There are some things that really need to change.”
The residents who live around McKoy Loop Road need “another route out,” she noted. Currently, those residents have to go all the way out to Atkinson in Pender County, and turn back into town, or risk going through what Sykes called “an old woods road” and possibly getting stuck.
Sykes’ home had 3 feet of water in it after the hurricane. She was thankful to family and friends for helping cleaning up, but lamented the lack of dumpsters for soggy debris and insulation, and asked why the town has none.
“These are the things that we need. I feel like Ivanhoe gets forgotten about; this is a time we really need outside help,” said Sykes.
With each comment from Sykes, ranging from roads to mosquitoes to dumpsters, a contingent in attendance from Ivanhoe — about half a dozen people spoke — applauded in agreement.
Lorraine Moore, also of Ivanhoe Road, said the road splits through the community, meaning the town was essentially cut in half for nearly a week while flood waters rose.
“If children has gotten sick or people had to go to the hospital, we had no way out — we couldn’t go out to 421, we couldn’t go to Harrells, we couldn’t go to Atkinson … the only way out was through this woods road that my sons and these other people help build. It was just enough so we could get across,” said Moore.
That ultimately fell through too.
“It seemed like every access to us was washed out; they could not get to us,” she remarked. “We have some serious problems besides just the road. We need some kind of communication in case of emergency or when a storm is going on to avoid a tragedy.”
Frankie Imes, a Fayetteville resident with ties to Ivanhoe, said once the flood came, Ivanhoe was “totally isolated.” He pointed to a hand-drawn map of the town, showing the limited roads giving access. Some residents suggested extending Juniper Springs Road to Jumping Run. Regardless, something has to be done, they said.
“Something need to be done before the next event there,” said Imes. “It’s just that critical. We don’t want something to happen down there because we failed to do something. We need to fix Ivanhoe quick, or it’s going to be on you all’s watches when the next event comes. It’s serious business.”
Audrey Taylor said he feared the “same fix-up” of the washed out road was going to occur and the roads were just going to disappear again. “This has been happening every time a storm comes,” Taylor said. “We can get everything done together. It’s about every now and then looking down there in that corner (of the county). Do what you can for us.”
County manager Ed Causey lauded the contingent for the respectful way in which they expressed their concerns, even amid their strife. He said the sense of community and the love for their neighbors was palpable.
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Keith Jackson said the state crews were expected to be working in the Ivanhoe Road area this week, and extending next week. He said it would likely be a pipe that is put in versus a causeway, which is a roadway supported mostly by earth or stone.
“There needs to be a causeway,” said Jackson, who noted another pipe would be installed, but that he heard the concerns of residents. “I know what’s going in there, but that does not mean that won’t change. As far as having a concrete structure instead of pipe, I’ll take that to my leadership.”
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.