September-October 8th District newsletter
Updated: Jan 6
I hope you had a great summer. Here's an update on some key issues in and around the neighborhoods of the 8th District.
First, two community social events I want to highlight: (1) Happy Hour on the Corner. Are you new in town? Want to meet your neighbors? Friday September 10th at 6pm at Gilpin and Rodney. BYOB, chairs, snacks etc. The idea is to do this on a different corner in Trolley Square each month to promote a more social and connected city. All are invited. (2) Bike the District - September Ride. Get outside with neighbors and experience the District on wheels. 6 mile ride, all skill levels welcome. Meet 9am on 9/18 in front of Rockford Tower. Click to RSVP here.
As always, please don't hesitate to call or email if you have an issue. I'm here to help. Sincerely,
Nathan Field 8th District Councilman Nrfield@wilmingtonde.gov Cell phone: 530-6626
P.S. Get updates on key neighborhood issues in between newsletters by following @FieldforDistrict8 on Facebook.
INCREDIBLE NEIGHBORHOOD SPIRIT- JUNE 4 FLOOD CLEANUP PROJECT
Last week unprecedented flooding along the Brandywine caused significant damage throughout Wilmington's world-class Brandywine Park. It's amazing how fast things can get done when neighbors come together. Thanks to the more than 50 people who came out for an impromptu cleanup. We made a big impact in clearing the Trolley Square side of the Park.
Many homes in Wilmington were seriously damaged by the floods. If you would like to donate food please click here. There are likely also opportunities for companies or individuals to make other contributions in the coming days as exactly what assistance is needed becomes clearer. Please contact me if interested.
AN EXCELLENT NEW BOOK ON WILMINGTON
We are lucky to live in a place that has the kind of interesting history that frequently gets written about in books. I highly recommend Wicked Wilmington just published by local historian Kevin McGonegal. It is a well-researched story of several high profile (think Board Walk Empire) incidents that took place in and around the Trolley Square and 40 Acres areas in the early 20th century. PROMOTING WILMINGTON MORE EFFECTIVELY: FIVE TO NINE IS JUST AS CRITICAL AS NINE TO FIVE
I've been working with a growing coalition from the local arts and business scene and other Council members and City officials to rethink and improve how Wilmington presents what it has to offer. There is real opportunity in several areas. I'll be writing much more about this in future newsletters. But here's just one: How to obtain a deeper, more strategic benefit for the City of Wilmington from the more than 10,000 employees at major national companies, working either downtown or just outside the city line?
Currently, less on average than 10-15% live in (the City of) Wilmington. At one company, for example, only 31 out of 1200+ employees are local. It's a major weakness and missed opportunity for a city to have such a weak 5PM to 9AM relationship with the overwhelming majority of its workers.
However, if we could reach 30% to 40% living locally Wilmington would benefit in the following ways:
(A) Makes it easier for local small businesses, to thrive (much more customers) (B) Easier to grow stronger local community spirit that could be applied to tacking the city's social problems and creating more equality (C) Makes the revitalization of high potential neighborhoods, especially outside of the 8th District, more likely (D) Makes it easier to improve the local public school system (E) Helps continue to grow the local Arts scene ( more people to attend museums, festivals, cultural events etc)
Most importantly, 30% to 40% is possible. It was happening through the 1990s.
Why is this problem happening now? There are many causes. One factor is that at all levels of government, there isn't currently an organized and systematic effort to form relationships with these major companies in order to: (a) target their employees in a data-driven way (b) figure out company and employee concerns, and then (c) sell them on on what the City of Wilmington has to offer (versus the overall state of DE or the suburbs of Wilmington).
Do you work at Blackrock, Dupont, Christiana Care, Chemours, JP Morgan Chase, M&T, Capital One, Nemours, Agilent Technologies, Incyte, Discover, or a downtown law firm? Or for that matter any local company? We could use your help! Please contact me if you are interested.
GOOD NEWS - A SMALL BUT SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT ON PARKING
There are aspects of the City's parking policies that could be improved or better communicated. I'm working closely with the City to seek improvement in all areas.
One of them is the vague process for placing and removing "No Parking" signs and cones for street repair work.
What's the Issue with the current signs? (1) While they are issued in the name of Public Works, 9 times out of 10 it's an outside contractor or agency doing the work (i.e. Delmarva) with limited coordination. In practice this means that whenever an issue emerges, time is wasted trying to figure out whose cones they are, causing unnecessary frustration for residents. (2) The anonymity means little to no accountability in terms of contractors applying practices limiting disruption to neighbors during the work, and especially, removing cones once the work is finished.
Perfect Example - Shallcross Avenue - 8 days after work is completed:
Thanks to Lynn and Brian at Public Works, new templates have arrived and will be used City-wide which make this small but very significant change: (A) adding the name of the company placing the cones, AND (B) the phone number of the Project manager.
In the future, if construction equipment is left in front of your house after work is completed, call the company directly to have it removed. Hopefully you won't have to because the direct new accountability will incentivize more responsiveness by contractors and outside agencies.
WORKING WITH DELDOT TO MINIMIZE DISRUPTION IN HAPPY VALLEY
Residents of this neighborhood have the unlucky fate of bearing the brunt of the impact of the 3 year project to rehab I95 over Wilmington. I want to thank Kevin and CR at DELDOT for agreeing to make two changes that truly help limit disruption to the residents. # 1- Shifting the Detour Route During the Closure of the I95 N On-Ramp away from the residential areas
The original detour route directed traffic coming from downtown and NE Wilmington onto the 900 and 1000 blocks of Lovering Avenue. That would have drastically increased the burden on the residents, but by keeping the traffic on Park Drive, the opposite is true.
#2 - Eliminating Off Hours Nuisance Activity in the DELDOT Lot through a permanent gate Left open and unmonitored, the secluded former Wilmington Hospital lot attracted a high frequency of nuisance behavior. It was a source of regular complaints from frustrated residents. DELDOT's team paid for a permanent fence, restricting the lot to official construction-related activity.
FUN FALL ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND THE 8TH DISTRICT
(1) The Brandywine Arts Festival. Brandywine Park. September 11th and 12th. If you are new in town, this is a truly incredible festival drawing tens of thousands of people from all over the country. (2) Fall Festival in Rockford. October 14th & 15th. We missed the Flower Marker in both 2020 and 2021, but the good news is that the Fall Festival will take its place.
UPDATE - the Fall festival has been cancelled due to ongoing Covic concerns (3) Hagley renovations & Classic Car Show - covered in the Washington Post (4) Open Streets Delaware Avenue. On September 18th, the Wilmington Bike project will be hosting a 3 hour event along Delaware Avenue aimed at promoting the use of public space for walking, biking, and community gathering. AN UPDATE ON GIBRALTAR
You may recall that on June 10th, Rob Herrera met with about 60 neighbors at Gibraltar to present his initial plans for the redevelopment of the site and adjacent parcels to the community. See my July newsletter for a full description of the meeting. Rob and his team are still in the due diligence phase of studying the many dimensions this project entails, have not yet purchased the property, and aim to have a 2nd community meeting sometime this winter.
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.
Get regular updates in between newsletters on key issues via Facebook by following @FieldforDistrict8