8th District Wilmington City Councilman
Dear Residents of District 8,
I hope you're staying safe. Many thanks to all healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines of this pandemic.
For obvious reasons I've been limited in my ability to meet new neighbors face-to-face. Good news though is that the campaign team, led by my sister Emma, is working hard and effectively to learn more over the phone and internet about what you think is important.
On the first of every month until the election, I'll be sending out a report on what we're doing to address your concerns. If you like what you hear, please consider sharing with your friends and family in the 8th District.
Many of you are unsure of what district you live in. You are a resident of the 8th District if your zip code is 19806, or you live in Wawaset Park or several blocks next to Ursuline and Padua.
IF YOU'RE A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, I'VE GOT YOUR BACK
It's unclear how bad COVID-19's impact will be on Wilmington. But one thing is certain, nobody will work harder to champion your recovery at City Council. More jobs in our town and supporting small business was already at the top of my agenda.
Multiply that by 10 now.
Having started and run a successful company of my own, I know exactly what it feels like to put everything on the line. It’s stressful even under the best of circumstances. My heart is with any Wilmingtonian whose livelihood has been severely curtailed for reasons outside of your control.
If elected, my “political capital” and energy will be spent first and foremost on doing whatever I can to getting you back in action.
Helping the Restaurants
Town Square Delaware recently published this excellent article where a local restaurateur surveyed his Facebook friends about “when it would be safe to go back” and got nearly 400 responses for or against. Have a read. It's very interesting.
As someone who eats breakfast 5 to 6 times per week at city diners, rotating between Libby’s, Angelo’s, Brew Haha and Kozy Korner, whenever the time is right, I look forward to doing my part to help you regain your past customer base.
MAINTAINING OUR GREAT PARK SYSTEM
In response to my survey question: “In your opinion, What are Wilmington’s 3 greatest assets?” - the most frequently cited is our park system. I couldn’t agree more.
How many cities can boast a more pleasant walk than a stroll through Brandywine Park past the Rose Garden, up the cliffs of Alapocas, with a loop around Rockford Tower?
We are incredibly lucky to have this park system. As a history buff, I believe we owe a great debt to those that made it happen back in the 1800s. If elected to represent you, keeping and maintaining such excellent parks is something I will take very seriously.
Oh and on that note, if you're looking for new quarantine reading material, I highly recommend this book on the history of Brandywine Park.
A MORE WALKABLE WILMINGTON
You're also telling me you want more walkability. You like being able to walk to work, to stores, restaurants, etc. You also want to see more connectivity between the 8th District and other neighborhoods.
During the shutdown, I’ve been going on lots of strolls around the City. My aim is to identify specific spots where a small transportation grant for intersection improvements could produce an outsized impact. The stretch of W. 10th Street between Adams and Jackson Street sticks out in a big way.
Psychologically, that crossing is not at all welcoming. Yet, it’s the only approach that directly connects downtown Wilmington to Cool Springs Park. A small amount of money to allow for more distinct cross walks and signage would make a huge impact. That's something I'll be working to obtain if elected. Please send me your suggestions for other areas if you have them.
BUILDING A MORE CONNECTED CITY
Many others have expressed concern with the divide in Wilmington between the “haves” and the “have nots.” I share it.
I have no easy answer though. Nobody does of course. Otherwise it would have already been fixed. An idea I have is to promote activities that are enjoyed by people from all backgrounds that are organic and sustainable.
What better way than permanent, concrete New York or Paris style chess tables in Cool Springs Park? Chess is a game that is universal. It’s free. It's been proven over the course of thousands of years to attract people from all backgrounds.
Such an initiative addresses many of our shared concerns, great parks, a less divided city, and I believe will even have an effect in lowering the crime rate. After all, the more that all residents from all neighborhoods no matter how rich or poor feel like they are part of the same city, the less attractive the appeal of criminal activity.
SOME PERSPECTIVE FROM THE LOCAL 'GREATEST GENERATION'
As some of you know, I'm attempting to write a book on Wilmington during World War 2. As part of my research, I’ve had the great pleasure of interviewing dozens of members of this group.
Throughout the crisis, I’ve been checking in to see how they’re doing. I love hearing their perspectives on how Coronavirus compares to previous challenges we've faced as a country.
One friend who served on a battleship in the Pacific says “this ain’t nothing compared to that.”
Another Wilmington old-timer who saw terrible combat in Europe thought that in some small way, because of the mandatory yet necessary isolation, this is worse. At least with “The War” as awful as it was, there was also a sense of excitement, purpose and adventure that a great many people shared together.
That's all for the May report. We are all facing this pandemic together. Wilmington will recover and be back to normal before we know it. For now, if there is anything I can do to help you, please just let me know.
Finally, if you have friends or neighbors that might find our message compelling, please pass this monthly update along to them. Feel free to encourage them to take my survey as well.