After a harrowing day of flooding in Wilmington, the Brandywine River swelled to unprecedented levels that flowed right into the low lying, heavily Black Riverside neighborhood. The one piece of good news is that no deaths or critical injuries were reported. Rescues in the Vandever Avenue area were first covered by DETV early Thursday and continued throughout the day.
In a Facebook post, WRK Group CEO Logan Herring reported that The Warehouse, which had its official grand opening in August, is among the affected buildings. The teen-focused (and largely teen-run) center that offers a variety of opportunities and programs for the area’s under-resourced youth was originally a warehouse. After a two-year renovation project and a significant amount of community support, it now has a career development center, a teaching kitchen, an agricultural pod and is home to a small high school, Kingswood Academy. The extent of the damage has not yet been released.
Here’s what Herring said in the Facebook statement:
“My heart aches for our community members, who are currently being transported, and in some cases, ferried by boat, to safe locations in Wilmington. My heart aches for the individual losses experienced by our neighbors as homes have been ruined and personal possessions and keepsakes destroyed. My heart aches for our neighborhood, which has been ignored for decades. Today, elected officials are deciding how to deploy hundreds of millions of dollars throughout Delaware as we collectively heal and recover from Hurricane Ida, a global pandemic, and a racial reckoning. I beg our elected officials to hear the cries of a historically undervalued community. We are hungry to improve our community, to build quality homes, send our children to safe schools, and to have clean, green spaces for our families to flourish in. But we can’t do this alone. We need you to pour into and invest in OUR commUNITY, as has happened so many times for other areas of Wilmington. WE NEED YOUR HELP!”
As the WKR Group, comprised of the Warehouse, REACH Riverside and Kingswood Community Center, accesses the damage to the community, they will communicate specific needs over networks such as Facebook. To make an immediate donation, go to the REACH Riverside donation page.
UPDATE: Herring released an update via Facebook with more details about the state of the neighborhood and of The Warehouse:
“I am grateful to announce that The Warehouse was spared from most of the flooding. There is a significant amount of debris in our parking lot and the surrounding streets. The Warehouse will remain closed today, Friday, September 3rd, as we continue to assess the situation. We will continue to provide updates on The Warehouse’s operational hours as it becomes available. The Riverside community is a different story. Today, many of our residents return from evacuation to face what Hurricane Ida left behind. We still don’t know the scope of damage done to our community, but The WRK Group is committed to assisting our neighbors in any way we can.”