July-August 8th District Newsletter
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
Dear residents, Here's my July-August newsletter covering neighborhood news and giving an update on my efforts to address your key concerns. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have a question or concern. I'm here to help. Sincerely, Nathan Field 8th District City Councilman Nrfield@wilmingtonde.gov
HERE'S WHAT HAPPENING WITH GIBRALTAR
Local architect Rob Herrera has an early stage plan to redevelop the iconic Gibraltar mansion and adjacent properties at 1601 Greenhill Avenue and 1600 Brinckle Avenue.
The land has not yet been purchased. At this stage, Rob and his team are exploring the economic feasibility and seeking community input. On June 15th, they met with about 60 neighbors to get feedback on the initial plan.
The initial idea is to: A. Invest money to restore the mansion and turn it into a boutique hotel B. Pay for 'A' by buying 1601 Greenhill and 1600 Riddle and building town homes and single family homes. See grid above. Rob's team will incorporate the feedback they received from neighbors and present updated plans to the community in late Summer. FUN SOCIAL EVENTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD THIS SUMMER
It's a busy summer in Wilmington packed with social events at nearby museums, cultural institutions and parks: Delaware Art Museum: Continues to host it's popular Thursday night happy hours, through September. There's also a string of interesting Art-related events planned for the Fall. Hagley Mills and Brandywine Creek State Park: Both have regular fun activities planned throughout the summer and fall.
Delaware Center for Horticulture: Check out their many summer events
Tuesday nights at Goober's Garage: Incredible classic car collection open to the Public from 4 to 7pm. It is a museum quality collection. Well worth a visit.
NIGHT WORK ON I95 OVER HAPPY VALLEY
Starting July 15th, Kiewit Construction, the DELDOT contractor performing the I95 rehab project will begin night work through September in the section over Happy Valley. To provide more details and to answer questions, the Kiewit/DELDOT team will host another community meeting July 12th at 6pm at the pavilion in the park in front of the 900 block of Wawaset St.
SEEKING IDEAS FOR INVESTING $55 MILLION COVID AID
As part of the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in April, the City of Wilmington will receive a check for $55 million. This is a "once in a lifetime" windfall for our City. Mayor Purzycki's team is looking to be very strategic in how it's invested and seeks public input.
If you have ideas, please send an email to: ARPideas@WilmingtonDE.gov.
COMBATTING DANGEROUS DRIVING
A major priority of mine is figuring out how to make Wilmington's streets as safe and stress-free as possible for both pedestrians and drivers.
I've been closely monitoring ten intersections that residents have brought to my attention. Here's one that illustrates some key issues, Pennsylvania Avenue and Broom, pictured above. On a regular basis drivers increase speed to unsafe levels on Broom Street in a rush to beat the light at Pennsylvania Avenue. Many also either run the stop sign at 13th and Broom or hardly stop, creating additional potential for accidents. Several major collisions have occurred. Here's the problem: The WPD Traffic Unit only has four officers. With those numbers in a city this size, the most they can reasonably do is place a car on any given spot for an hour or two each week. In other words the PD has difficulty enforcing existing traffic rules with its current setup.
To provide more of deterrent effect, a growing number of Wilmington-area legislators at the State level in Dover believe automated enforcement can help. Philadelphia, for example, has reduced speeding by 93% on its most dangerous street using such technology. After a string of speed-related major accidents on I95, this fall DELDOT will be installing a pilot program using automated enforcement over I95 in Wilmington. This is a first for Delaware.
These Wilmington area State legislators will be using the data collected from that DELDOT pilot to write legislation when the next session starts in January allowing for the strategic and effective use of this technology to improve safety on Wilmington's streets. More on this in future newsletters.
COMMITMENT TO RESOLVING SIDEWALK AND TREE ISSUES
This is a key problem in an "old" City such as Wilmington. I am working closely with City Arborist Herb White, and Lynn Klous and Brian Mitchell of Public Works to get every single request the strongest consideration for quick repairs.
If you have an issue in front of your house, don't hesitate to call me, but here is the key first step: First, fill out a 311 form that gets your issue a spot in the line; Click Public Works > Streets > Sidewalk Problem Make sure to get an ID number!
8TH DISTRICT SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY CONTEST WINNER
Each year council members have a small amount of money to distribute as scholarships. To win an 8th District scholarship, a student had to write a short essay on their best idea for making Wilmington a better city.
Congratulations to Padua senior and soon to be UD freshman, Meredith Kuchma.
UPDATE - MAKING STAPLER PARK BETTER THAN EVER
The Friends of Stapler Park, a neighborhood community group, continues its focus on making the Park better than ever. We had 25+ people come out for our May 22nd project to remulch the playground area. See pictures on the Facebook site.
We plan on doing this 2-3 times per year with the next coming this Fall. We definitely need your help if you would like to get involved.
History plaque is coming telling the interesting story of the park's founding
New Outdoor trashcans - I was happy to use my annual City Council discretionary funds to buy four new outdoor trashcans replacing the older and temporary ones
The basketball court is going to be fully refurbished this Fall
New pathways in and out of the park have received funding from House Rep. Gerald Brady
REVERSING THE TREND OF "PHILADELPHIA FIRST"
In the last 15-20 years a negative trend has developed where a large majority of new hires at local corporations and law firms have chosen to live in Philadelphia. It's a terrible trend for Wilmington because none of their salaries are spent locally and it has decreased the sense of local community here in Delaware's largest ci It's also a new trend. As one senior lawyer at RLF told me, when she was starting out, virtually all new hires lived in Wilmington and it was "considered unpatriotic" to live in Philly. I've been holding meetings with companies such as Agilent and Incyte, and several major downtown law firms to get data on why it's occurring and then use it to try and reverse or limit the problem to Wilmington's advantage.
More on that in future newsletters.
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