Civic News
Communities / Delaware / Urban development

What the News Journal says Wilmington needs vs. what Wilmington actually needs

The News Journal laid out eight “fun” things Wilmington “needs.” Shockingly, every item on the list references something Philadelphia has.

Downtown Wilmington. (Photo by Flickr user Ron Cogswell, used under a Creative Commons license)

Dear Wilmington: You are not Philadelphia. You will never be Philadelphia. You couldn’t be Philadelphia if you tried.
And that’s totally OK.
Wilmington has the opportunity to be something Philadelphia is not; to step outside the shadow cast by its neighboring city to the north; to start casting a shadow of its own.
So for Pete’s sake, somebody please let the News Journal know.
Yesterday, the online edition of the paper published a piece called 8 Things Wilmington Needs to Up Its Fun Factor. Harmless enough, right? It’s intended to be a fun story. But all eight of those things Wilmington “needs” point to what’s been happening in Philadelphia the past few years.
We understand there’s fun happening 30 minutes up I-95. But what we don’t understand is why anyone would want to continue to broadcast their city’s image as a miniature iteration of its neighboring city by continuously referencing that city in a “what we need before we can start having fun” list.
Pop-up beer gardens? Wawa? What’s next — a bike share (that would actually be really, really awesome)?
We motion for News Journal to change the title of this piece to “8 Things Wilmington Needs to Become A Miniature Philadelphia.” Here are a just a couple of things that might “up Wilmington’s fun factor” that aren’t exclusively buzzy in Philadelphia right now.

  • Morning raves. Daybreaker started the trend in Brooklyn, and it’s quickly catching on in other cities. Check it out. You’d be surprised.
  • Pop-up makerspaces. In Baltimore, Industrial Arts Collective is opening a shop that will sell local goods from makerspaces and small manufacturers for the next two months only.
  • Protected bike lanes. This is infrastructure worth investing in, especially for a city like Wilmington — dominated by cars and littered with cavernous potholes. Indianapolis has it right with their new Cultural Trail.

Above all, it’s important that Wilmington find things the city can call its own — things that might not be happening anywhere else. And that calls for creative thinking, not just borrowing ideas from other cities. Even if they are just 30 minutes up the Northeast Corridor.

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