November-December 8th District Newsletter
Updated: Jan 6
Dear neighbors, I hope you are enjoying the beautiful colors of Fall. Here's an update on key City issues happening in the neighborhoods of the 8th District. As always, please don't hesitate to call or email if you have a concern. I'm here to help. Sincerely,
8th District Councilman
Nrfield@wilmingtonde.gov Cell phone: 530-6626 Facebook: @FieldforDistrict8
WHEN WILL THE BANCROFT MILLS FOOTBRIDGE REOPEN?
The news is not good. In late October, the State was able to determine the full extent of damage from September 2nd flooding. The bridge unfortunately needs major repairs. "2023" is being cited as a timeframe for reopening. To ensure this project doesn't get lost in government bureaucracy, I helped set up a community working group to maximize the voice of the neighborhood. For an extremely detailed breakdown of exactly where things stand, see this detailed blog post via the Highlands Community Association. I will be doing everything I can to ensure the fastest and safest reopening and will provide regular updates. WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO SENIORS? In October I hosted "Coffee and Donuts" listening sessions at Lincoln Towers, Luther Towers I and II and Ingleside, the senior living facilities in the 8th District. Top 5 Concerns Expressed (1) Importance of Improving Public Transportation
(2) Desire for Stronger Police Presence to Deter Crime
(3) More Enforcement of Existing Traffic Rules
(4) Safer crosswalks & eliminating damaged sidewalks (5) Helping non-internet savvy residents navigate city news and government information that's now primarily on the internet
I'm working to get better results for the Seniors on each of these issues. # 5 is a major "under-rated" issue worth highlighting: Governments these days assume that everyone is on the internet. Announcements, forms etc have gone overwhelmingly if not exclusively digital.
Yes, it is cheaper and easier to administrate this way. But it's also frustrating for many seniors who prefer the traditional methods of communication and aren't good with technology. One example is with Parking pass renewal forms. These are now required to be renewed online even though many people are not. As a solution to ensure easy access for all, I had paper forms placed on a table by the guard desk. They can be filled out on site and placed in a Drop Box for processing. If you or someone you know has physical difficulties getting to and from the City council building, please contact me and I can drop the forms off for you.
AT THE DELAWARE ART MUSEUM THIS FALL
The DAM has a full slate of interesting activities this fall.
# 1 - The Vision of Percy Ricks - an excellent new exhibit running through January Here's a good News Journal article and click the Youtube video to hear a description from the curator:
#2 - The Winter Arts Festival on December 11th - back after being cancelled last year due to Covid. I Hope to run into some of you at the museum this fall. MAKING OUR NEWEST NEIGHBORHOOD MORE WALKABLE
Mill Road has existed since 1850 as an access road to the Bancroft Mills Factory complex. However, until January 2021, there had never been a single person living on this Road. Less than a year later there are 300. Another 200 are set to follow once buildings C & D of the Falls Apartment are completed. Given the sudden change, the Road is not fully walkable and two upgrades are needed:
the street is pitch black at night (discouraging walking to nearby restaurants, bus stops)
No sidewalks, and plenty of windy blind curves making walkers nervous
We're looking at cost in the $400,000 to $500,000 range to add in sidewalk and full lighting. I am working with the City to apply for a DELDOT Transportation Improvement Program grant. A more walkable Wilmington is a more competitive, healthier, friendly and just better city overall!
NEW ORDINANCE TO ENSURE MORE RESPECT FOR RESIDENTS BY CONTRACTORS
Since January I have regularly received complaints about a persistent quality of life hassle for residents that happens city wide.
Way too often, contractors fail to remove their construction cones in a timely manner after work is done. Until now, the City had no recourse except to politely ask them to remove their equipment in a timely manner. That wasn't working. To fix the problem, in October I sponsored an ordinance which passed 10-0, that gives contractors three days from the end of the completion of the work to remove these cones. On day 4, Public Works now has the legal authority to confiscate them. Hopefully this won't be necessary because the possibility of confiscation will ensure construction equipment is removed in a more timely manner.
EXPECT NOTHING NEW ON GIBRALTAR BEFORE NEXT WINTER
To repeat what I wrote in my September newsletter, nothing new will happen in 2021. Rob Herrera, the potential developer, continues to study the many complex issues this project would entail. He has not purchased the property. You may recall that on June 10th, Rob and his team met with about 60 neighbors at Gibraltar to present his initial plans for the redevelopment of the site and adjacent parcels . See my July newsletter for a full description of the meeting. They will present an updated concept based on that community feedback during this winter meeting.
OTHER UPDATES ON NEIGHBORHOOD IMPROVEMENTS (1) Kentmere Street Lights: I continue to work with Rep. Gerald Brady to get new street lights installed on Grant Avenue, Foster Place and Field Road off Kentmere Parkway. It has taken longer than expected due to the many government agencies involved but we are on pace to make it happen.
(2) Stapler Park Updates: On October 7th, I met with a group of residents and the new City Parks Director to discuss ways to upgrade Stapler Park.
Last fall the Friends of Stapler Park raised money for 3 new highly aesthetic outdoor trash cans. Due to supply chain issues, their arrival has been delayed until December. . The basketball court (new surface, new rims) was supposed to be completed last summer, but the Parks Department assured the Friends group that completion is in the works, hopefully before winter sets in, but if not in early Spring. (3) Improving Lighting on South Park Drive towards Wilmington Hospital Last week I organized a meeting with State Senator Elizabeth Lockman, and Happy Valley residents to discuss the possibility of adding lighting to South Park Drive through a Community Transportation Fund (CTF) grant. This a fund available to our representatives in Dover. CTF funding requires a long process, so it won't happen overnight, but it was a good meeting and it seems like this project is a good candidate. I've heard from many nurses and doctors who work at nearby Wilmington Hospital who would live within walking distance of the Hospital but don't because the total darkness makes them feel unsafe. We need to change that. Lighting this stretch up at night is a no-brainer in making Wilmington a more appealing place to live. (4) Repainting Fading Center line along N. Union Street
Thanks to help from Lynn at Public Works, we have arranged for a touch up of new paint on the very faded center lines plus a fix of the missing crosswalk next to St Ann's. This will occur sometime in November.
FINALLY, REMEMBER 311 - CRITICAL CITY RESOURCE
Introduced only last year, the 311 system is the single most important resource city residents can use to improve city services. For ANY municipal issue, from a pothole, to flooding issues, reporting downed trees etc, there are two options: (1) Call "311" on your phone, Monday through Friday from 7am to 7pm and report the issue to a human operator (2) Fill out the online form
Why is this important? Using 311 is the most effective to way to address any issue you are facing. It enables issues to be resolved in a systematic and data driven way. Make sure to get an ID number! Once you take that step, it significantly enhances my ability to help resolve your issue.