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Wilmington targets West Center City for revitalization


Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki yesterday announced a new program that would focus additional public resources on a single underserved neighborhood. That means more police officers, L&I inspectors, sanitation officials, parks and recreation staff, and other public servants that could improve the quality of life in a given community.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program’s first target will be West Center City, a low-income residential neighborhood adjacent to downtown Wilmington. The exact target area, for the purposes of the program, spans from Adams Street to Tatnall Street and 4th Street to 10th Street.

During his campaign, Purzycki said his administration would take on a handful of neighborhoods where the city’s limited resources could make a real difference.

“Beginning today, the people of WCC will have a team of new and existing allies and partners standing side-by-side with them to improve the lives of citizens and strengthen the entire neighborhood,” said Mayor Purzycki. “The failed initiatives of the past are behind us. We will not try to revisit them. I believe that a well-executed program that is supported by the community and multiple partners will change lives for the better and transform this neighborhood.”

The administration will work with other public agencies, such as the Wilmington Housing Authority and the Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank, and community partners, such as Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware and the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation (WRC).

Purzycki also noted that the City would in concert with existing community plans.

“I tip my hat to all of those who worked extremely hard to produce and follow through on the West Center City Strategic Neighborhood Plan coordinated by Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware and the WRC’s Creative District Strategic Plan,” he said. “Our efforts will complement and support yours.”


The program seeks to tackle a wide range of issues, but some of the more immediate goals include: reducing crime, ensuring that liquor and convenience stores comply with the law, improving housing quality through pre-rental inspections and additional oversight of landlords and speculators, and implementing traffic calming measures.

The City offered no timeline, and Purzycki has noted that projects of this type could take a while.

Here is a list of the WCC Working Group members:

· Michelle Billups, West Center City resident

· Nnamdi Chukwuocha, Member, Wilmington City Council

· Greg Ciotti, Lieutenant, Wilmington Police Department

· James Diana, Lieutenant, Delaware Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement

· Marlyn Dietz, Operations Director, Wilmington Department of Public Works

· Mercedes Fields, West Center City resident

· Ray Fitzgerald, Director, State Division of Social Services (DHSS)

· Tom Ford, Program Coordinator, Wilmington Department of Real Estate and Housing

· Bill Freeborn, Executive Vice-President, Delaware Contractors Association

· Matt Harris, Planner, Wilmington Department of Planning

· AJ Hill, Attorney, Wilmington City Solicitor’s Office

· Kevin Kelley, Director, Wilmington Department of Parks and Recreation

· Deborah Kraak, President, Trinity Vicinity Neighborhood Association

· Cassandra Marshall, President, Quaker Hill Neighborhood Association

· Donald Morton, Pastor, Tabernacle Baptist Church

· Tom Ogden, Deputy Chief of Staff, Mayor’s Office

· Gabriel Pabon, Lieutenant, Wilmington Fire Marshal’s Office

· Gary Pollio, Executive Director, Interfaith Community Housing of DE

· Jennifer Prado, Director, Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services

· AJ Roop, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice

· Laura Semmelroth, Creative District Strategist, Wilmington Renaissance Corporation

· David Sophrin, Policy Analyst, Mayor’s Office

· Caren Turner, West Center City resident

· Va’Shun Turner, Council Member, Wilmington City Council

· Jessica Ramos-Velazquez, Acting Deputy, Commissioner, Wilmington Department of Licenses and Inspections

· Christian Willauer, Executive Director, Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank

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