The City of Wilmington presented working plans for revitalization along the Brandywine River in northeast Wilmington at a public open house last Tuesday.
City planner Matt Harris says the plan is centered around two brownfields along the Brandywine River: the former Diamond State Salvage property and the Wilmington Maintenance Yard. But Harris notes the plan goes beyond these properties.
“You’re not looking at just those sites. It’s how those sites can be a catalyst for redevelopment and reinvestment in the entire project area,” he said.
Gerald Ryle lives on Tatnall St. in the study area. He says his primary concern is abandoned houses and lots. He says he’d like to see some turned into parks.
“Some kind of like safety park, for children. So they can have somewhere to go and play, you know,” he said.
Emily Dix also lives in the study area and says crime and flooding are her biggest concerns.
“We’re having problems with the water when it rains. The drains and things are backing up into peoples’ homes. And we need to know what they’re going to do about this,” she said. “Because anymore, the storms and things are beginning to be really bad.”
Residents also raised the desire for education and enrichment for area youths. Others raised fears of gentrification spurred by redevelopment.
Officials and contractors said the plan focuses on public river access, infrastructure reinvestment and economic development.
They presented two alternative draft plans, both focusing on improved connectivity in the neighborhood and access to the river. They also hope to plan for improvements to housing stock and more multi-modal streets.
James Hartlin with Urban Parnters is working on th market analysis for the city. He talked about the area’s capacity to support more businesses — particularly food-related.
The plan is being funded by a nearly $200,000 grant from the EPA. It must be finished by spring 2019.