(Photo by Flickr user Paul Sableman, used under a Creative Commons license)
There’s a push — now more than ever — to improve Wilmington. But civic leaders, state officials and citizens of Wilmington aren’t the only ones looking to build upon the city’s untapped potential. Delawareans from the technology and innovation sectors want to see a better Wilmington, too.
- We published “There are two Wilmingtons. Here’s how you can help both” last week. Now facing the “Murder Town USA” brand, local business owner Venu Gaddamidi wrote, all of Delaware needs to embrace how important Wilmington can be.
- This fall, we wrote about how the city of Wilmington, despite its challenges of crime and poverty, has a fledgling innovation corridor that could become the state’s best known asset outside the region.
Here are the biggest Wilmington-focused urban development stories we covered in 2014:
- In April, Freire Charter School — which runs a middle school and high school in Center City Philadelphia, and hopes to open Tech Freire next year — will open a Wilmington campus to students next fall. This news came on the heels of Wilmington University’s plans to build a new 41-acre campus at Concord Pike and Naamans Road, 15 minutes outside of downtown Wilmington. Read the full story here.
- Earlier this month, we learned DuPont is planning a move from its downtown HQ to suburban Wilmington. The company will relocate up to 1,000 workers to its suburban Chestnut Run Plaza complex, effective July 1. “The consolidation of DuPont corporate headquarters at Chestnut Run will optimize use of company facilities, support collaboration and improve efficiencies for both DuPont and Chemours,” the company said in a statement.
- The announcement that Wilmington University will build a new campus on 41-acres in suburban North Wilmington has largely been seen as a standard positive economic development gain for Delaware. But you might also characterize it as a crucial missed opportunity for the college’s namesake city. The move is billed as a chance to make easier the driving commute of many of its students, nearly two-thirds of whom are part-time, adult learners and predominantly living in North Wilmington. Read the full story here.
- David Curtis petitioned SEPTA to add more train trips to Wilmington. The petition worked. It’s a step in the right direction, said Curtis. “Wilmington’s growth will always be limited if its transportation options are also limited. Delaware can’t afford for that to happen.”
- This fall, officials from the City of Wilmington and New Castle County’s Office of Economic Development worked together to come up with an economic development plan, which was unveiled in November. Getting city and county leaders to jointly announce a visioning plan that included Wilmington as its strongest asset was seen by some as a step forward for government collaboration. The pair of government strategies are complementary to a third, more targeted and arts-minded plan, released earlier this year by the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation.
- The City of Wilmington plan highlights the city’s need to position itself as a magnet for business, while also investing in education, youth and training. Take the city’s finance roots and leverage them to retain earlier stage companies and impact other, underserved residents outside of downtown who aren’t benefiting from business growth.
- The New Castle County plan aims to attract more residents to the county, create more and better jobs and engage younger residents in the planning and economic development process. Though this plan includes the entire county, there is a clear nod to Wilmington being a place to attract young talent.
- The Wilmington Renaissance Corporation plan advocates improving the city through cultural development. It’s a look at using the arts and a broad definition of creative work to create a sense of place to retain talent, particularly focused on downtown.