Wilmington city officials announce plans to rebuild a section of the East Side
Wilmington city officials gathered Wednesday to watch a bulldozer bring down a section of Bennett Street on the city’s East Side.
The demolition on the 900 block of Bennett is part of the first phase of East Side Rising Housing Initiative to revive residential areas in Wilmington’s East Side that suffer from blight and crime.
The neighborhood is city’s third district, represented by City Councilman Darius Brown. Brown hopes rebuilding parts of Bennett and Kirkwood Streets will reduce crime in the neighborhood.
“There is a direct correlation between criminal activity and blight and abandonment in Wilmington’s neighborhoods," said Brown. "The more we can improve the housing stock in the city, the more we can do to improve and reduce criminal activity.”
Seven three-bedroom homes will be built on that block and will each sell for approximately $145,000. Officials expect to begin construction before the end of this year. Construction on the 800 block on Bennett Street, which was torn down a year ago, will start next month.
Wilmington Housing Partnership executive director Steve Martin says that their efforts to build affordable housing in areas like this are designed to bring back East Side residents who have left the neighborhood.
“A lot of times when you come in and do these type of projects, most people feel that [it’s] gentrification," said Martin. "That’s the first word that comes out of their mouths. And at the partnership, we believe in affordable housing. Housing that can be for families for low to moderate incomes so that they have an opportunity to own their homes.”
The Wilmington Housing Partnership is taking the lead on this project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Delaware State Housing Authority, among others have helped fund these efforts.