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Plans for community green space announced in West Center City

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Signs and art hang on the fence around the nine lots slated to become a community green space

The Wilmington Renaissance Corporation is working to make West Center City greener.

The Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC) purchased nine contiguous empty lots in West Center City this fall, and plans to turn them into a public green space.

“Take a good look at this space now,” said WRC’s Laura Semmelroth, "’Cause it’s going to change.”

Semmelroth says those changes include a membership-based community garden, a space for concerts or physical activities, and a space for low-key activities, like playing chess.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki says he sees these kinds of small revitalization projects as part of how to “turn a city around.”

Credit Sophia Schmidt
The Mayor, the WRC board chair and a neighbor "dig in" to a cake designed to look like the vacant lots

“People go to places that they think are attractive and beautiful.”

The 17,000 square-foot space is located at the corner of 7th and West streets. It is just blocks away from another community programming space WRC manages called the Rock Lot.

Glenn Moore, board chair of WRC, says the Corporation has more in store for the West Center City neighborhood.

“This is not the beginning, this is not the end, this is somewhere in the middle of the things we’d like to do in this community and in other places in the City of Wilmington,” he said.

The Rock Lot and the new site are part of the Corporation’s Vacant to Vibrant and Creative District Wilmington initiatives.


A rendering of the planned community green space

They hope to start remediation and construction on the new site at the beginning of next year— and finish in 2020.

Remediation at the new site is being funded by DNREC.

WRC purchased the nine lots for $10 each from Mario Medori, Inc.


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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