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Non-profit raising funds to renovate old Wilmington mounted police building

Courtesy of Urban Bike Project
Rendering of the renovations to the historic building on N. Walnut St.

Wilmington-based Urban Bike Project has announced a capital campaign to restore a historic building serving as its headquarters.

The non-profit has been raising money to renovate its headquarters at the former Wilmington mounted police stables on the city’s East Side.

The Urban Bike Project seeks to provide Wilmington residents access to bicycling as a healthy, affordable means of transportation.

Bill Freeborn is vice chairman of the Urban Bike Project Board of Directors. He says the non-profit aims to raise $500,000 by the end of the year for the renovations— which include putting in a sprinkler system, air-conditioning and a new roof.

Freeborn says the renovations will be key to the non-profit’s functioning.

Credit Courtesy of Urban Bike Project
Current conditions at the Urban Bike Project headquarters

“[The building] is a bit of a disaster right now— the building is a mess,” said Freeborn.

The organization had already raised 60 percent of the $500,000 goal by the beginning of September, according to a statement.

“Interest has been very high and the support that we’ve received has been really quite good. So I don’t think we’re going to have any problems at all in achieving our $500,000 goal,” Freeborn said.

Part of the funding is coming in the form of historic tax credits sold to a bank, says Freeborn. The building on N. Walnut St. was built in 1907 and is set to receive facade restorations as part of the renovations.

Freeborn adds that the non-profit has secured a 30-year lease with the City of Wilmington, which owns the building. He says this long-term lease will make Urban Bike Project eligible for more foundation grants in the future.


Construction on Urban Bike Project renovations is projected to begin by December. Freeborn says that the timeline for when renovations might be finished is still being determined— and will depend partly on whether the organization is able to raise money beyond their goal and pursue more capital improvements.

Urban Bike Project’s functions include affordable used bike sales and repair services, education in bike mechanics and safety, transportation services for low-income adults and youth shop and Earn-A-Bike programs.

Cityfest, a non-profit run through the Wilmington Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, is making progress on another project at the site.

The nearly $1 million Urban Artist Exchange project will renovate the gardens and old stables on N. Walnut to include an open-seat amphitheater, an outdoor public art exhibition and a sculpture garden.

Tina Betz, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, says Cityfest has begun removing vegetation and preparing the old stables. The entire project is scheduled to be finished in 2021.

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.
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