Taking daycare playground from low-income children

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Child playing in sand with sandcastle buckets.

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“We were very fortunate to be in a position to help them out.”

Melvin and Sandra McLawhorn owned and ran a daycare for about 18 years. “Lots of Love Daycare” was a labor of love – catering to low-income families in the surrounding area. Sandra McLawhorn did what she could to help out working parents and make sure their children were cared for.

“You had people who came in,” Melvin said, “who just didn’t have the financial means, and sometimes we were able to afford them daycare and work with them according to their income. Sometimes we’d let them come in free of charge, and we were able to get them Social Services, and they were able to continue with daycare. We have fond memories of things like that we were able to do.”

The McLawhorns got notice about a year in advance that the NCDOT and the City of Greenville were planning on expanding the road behind the daycare. The project was going to require a part of the playground land. Under North Carolina law, daycares have to maintain a certain amount of playground space per child enrolled at the school.

“I knew that it was going to cause some adverse, harmful effects.”

The community was worried. With less playground space available, parents, students, and the McLawhorns worried that the daycare, which provided such wonderful service to the area, was going to close. Enrollment began to fall while surrounding businesses affected by the project settled with the state and closed their doors.

“Because of the fairness.”

The McLawhorns knew they needed to do something. So they reached out to the North Carolina Eminent Domain Law Firm after reading good things about them. The original offer by the NCDOT to seize the playground was for just a few thousand dollars. The NC Eminent Domain Law Firm was able to help settle the case for six times that offer.

“I felt that [my attorney] was very fair. Very considerate, very professional, and very ethical.”

Melvin attributes the settlement success to the work ethic of their attorney, Stan Abrams. “I felt that he was very fair. He worked with you in a very professional manner. And he proved to me to be that kind of person. Very considerate, very professional, and very ethical.  I would recommend Stan and the NC Eminent Domain Law firm highly.”

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