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Wilmington Renaissance Corp. celebrates 25 years of development in city

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Dr. Carrie Gray speaks at the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation's 25th annual meeting

The Wilmington Renaissance Corporation is marking its 25 year anniversary this week.


The non-profit initiated the redevelopment of the LOMA district and created the Delaware College of Art and Design and the Wilmington Grand Prix annual bike races, according to its website.

It’s currently behind Creative District Wilmington in West Center City and a retail development campaign on Market St. called New Market Wilm.

“We are developing plans for a kitchen incubator. We’re in the process of acquiring the land at 7th and West sts. to create a park space for the neighborhood … We’ll unveil more public art like the murals and sculpture garden,” said Wilmington Renaissance Corporation Managing Director Carrie Gray.

Mayor Mike Purzycki casts groups like Wilmington Renaissance and the private sector as partners in his goal to improve the city’s reputation.

“People come visit all the time. Invariably someone says ‘I cannot tell you - I’m so surprised. I was expecting something so different from Wilmington.’” he said. “Which is our burden.”

New Market Wilm hopes to attract retailers to Market St., and with them, new residents.

Purzycki says development of 1000 new city rental units helps bolster the efforts of the Renaissance Corporation and others to make Wilmington an attractive place for young people to live.

But he says he wants to make sure the roughly 25 percent of the city’s residents living in poverty are not left behind.


He adds his administration is also focusing on services for current residents, including raising standards for older rental stock, revamping lighting throughout the city and improving customer service on the city’s complaint line.

Gray says the group’s Creative District initiative in West Center City aims to serve lower-income and long-term residents of the city, and create spaces for people of different economic classes to come together.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.