Work underway to restore historic Rodney Square
Wilmington’s historic Rodney Square is getting a major facelift.
DART, the City of Wilmington, the Buccini/Pollin group, non-profit Downtown Visions and others are working to restore and re-imagine the focal point of the city’s downtown.
Downtown Visions Executive Director Martin Hageman says the first phase, including making basic repairs to the existing bus stops, is complete. The next steps include completely re-designing the bus routes, and making Rodney Square more friendly to outdoor programming.
“In some ways it’s modernizing it, and in other ways it’s restoring some of the old touches that made it such a wonderful place to be to begin with," Hageman said. "It's the front yard of our downtown.”
That will followed by restoration of the square’s historic lighting and fountain and the addition of a sidewalk cafe. Hageman adds the re-design will also include movement of some of the bus stops away from Rodney Square.
"There’ll be programming with more outdoor furnishings and outdoor seating so people can get back to using it," Hageman said. "We’re going to try to program it with more events, lunchtime events, and those will be happening as the weather continues to improve.”
Rodney Square is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an example of community planning, development and civic architecture. It hasn't been updated since 1990, when a similar group of organizations, led by the Garden Club of Wilmington, made significant improvements.
The current project is expected to take several years to complete with the state, city and private funds covering the cost.