Civic News

Cynicism and cautious excitement follow Rodney Square reno announcement

The $8 Million project has people feeling all kinds of ways.

The Rodney Square Farmer's Market in 2018 (pre-renovation).

(Photo by Holly Quinn)

Nothing brings out the cynics like a new city project.

When the City of Wilmington announced “The NEW Rodney Square,” a projected $8 million dollar project that will upgrade the downtown park with outdoor seating, greenery and a water feature for kids, the excitement was mixed with doubts.

All over social media, folks (some Wilmington residents and/or workers, some suburban outsiders) gave their two cents.

On Reddit, they wondered whether the project would attract more “vagrants.”

On Facebook, some questioned why Wilmington should have anything nice and reminded everyone that Wilmington has a bad reputation, while others questions using funds for a park instead of for social services. Some, in contrast, applauded the proposed accessibility and amenities for kids:

#ItsTimeWilmDE for a new Rodney Square for all to enjoy! Mike Purzycki – Mayor of the City of Wilmington, Governor John…

Posted by City of Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, March 7, 2019


On Twitter, local businesses showed support:

Not least of all, area businesses that will be working directly on the project are understandably pumped:

So, is the project good, evil or neutral?

This reporter’s take: Rodney Square has been the subject of controversy since it was shut down as a transportation hub, a major change that is still hard to acclimate to for some residents. Without the hub, the Square is undeniably less congested and more usable as a community park. It’s been used a lot over the last couple of years, including the weekly farmers’ market that is now lined with food trucks. The project isn’t entirely superficial — especially when you consider that there are few places for downtown kids to cool off  in the summer. The water feature means the new park will not just be for the benefit of office workers, but for neighborhood families — a demo that has often been overlooked in downtown “revitalization” efforts.

Check out the video and draw your own conclusions:

Companies: City of Wilmington
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