Margaret Rose Henry Bridge Project Finalist for National Award

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials announced the Top 12 finalists in the 2021 America’s Transportation Awards competition, and Delaware’s Margaret Rose Henry Bridge project is one of the 12 finalists.

The general public is invited to vote in the selection of the People’s Choice Award for the 2021 America’s Transportation Awards competition at AmericasTransportationAwards.org and clicking the Vote Now icon. Individuals can vote once per day.

The Top 12 finalists – whittled down from 80 nominees from 35 state departments of transportation via four U.S. regional contests – now compete for the Grand Prize and the People’s Choice Award. Both prizes come with a $10,000 cash award, for a charity or transportation-related scholarship of the winners’ choosing.

Named in honor of the first African American woman elected to the Delaware State Senate, the $82 million bridge, approach roads, and realigned road network alleviate traffic congestion and improves mobility and circulation for the Riverfront community. The bridge did so by introducing an additional access point to primary arteries such as U.S. Route 13 and Interstate 495.

An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the Grand Prize winner, while the general public will decide the People’s Choice Award winner through online voting. Online votes will be weighted to each state’s population, allowing for greater competition between states with larger and smaller populations. AASHTO will announce the winners during its Annual Meeting in San Diego, October 26-29. Online voting continues until 11:59 p.m. on October 25.


Governor Carney Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration after Flooding Caused by Tropical Depression Ida

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) continues to conduct damage assessments

WILMINGTON, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Friday sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting a Major Disaster Declaration following flooding caused by Tropical Depression Ida. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) in conjunction with the City of Wilmington and other partners, have spent the previous two weeks surveying damage in neighborhoods affected by the storm, to support the request for federal assistance. 

The following are excerpts from Governor Carney’s letter:

“Tropical Depression Ida interacted with a frontal system (and) produced 100-year rainfall returns in the Brandywine Creek basin. Heavy rains in Pennsylvania fell into Brandywine Creek, and flooding runoff flowed into Delaware on September 2, 2021.  

“Flooding from heavy rainfall caused considerable damage to residential and commercial structures and vehicles in the areas of the eastern portion of the City of Wilmington, as well as pockets along the Brandywine Creek from Talleyville, DE, through Edgemoor, DE.

“The Brandywine Creek in Wilmington rose to 23.14 feet Thursday morning, breaking its previous record of 20.43 feet in 2014. Flooding in Wilmington stretched between I-495 and Market Street, with the most significant impact in a fifteen to twenty-block area along the creek. In the early morning hours of September 2, water rescues were conducted in the Riverside neighborhood, with 200 people evacuated from the floodwaters…

“The State of Delaware continues to assist residents with an additional focus on providing support to our most vulnerable populations during these unprecedented times.”

Click here to read Governor Carney’s full letter. 

Click here to learn more about the resources available for those who were affected by the storm and ways to help.

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Governor Carney, City of Wilmington, and DEMA Announce Flood Assistance Programs

Resources announced following Recovery Resource Fair where agencies connected with more than 200 households

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Wednesday more than 200 households affected by last week’s storm found assistance at the Disaster Recovery Resource Fair hosted by the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), the City of Wilmington, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) at The Warehouse. Over 20 agencies and local partners were in attendance to ensure those affected by flooding had access to the resources they need.

Two additional resources were also announced to help Wilmington families with recovery efforts:

  • DEMA announced a new Flood Cleanup Assistance program that will provide cleanup services for qualifying households through the Milford Housing Development Corporation. 
  • The City of Wilmington announced a toll-free Crisis Cleanup Hotline (1-844-965-1386) to serve as a clearinghouse for all the muck out, tear out, and water removal needs of those directly affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

“Homeowners and renters along the Brandywine have faced significant challenges from the flooding last week, and that’s why we are all working to connect them with resources and help them through this difficult recovery process,” said Governor Carney. “We’re grateful for the local, state, and community partners across Delaware who are helping our neighbors in Wilmington, and for standing up these important resources that will help residents with cleanup efforts in the affected areas.”

 

DE Flood Cleanup Assistance

DEMA’s Flood Assistance Program is an effort funded by the state’s EmergencyManagement Resilience Fund. Cleanup services by DEMA in coordination with the Milford Housing Development Corporation may include:

  • Mucking
  • Removal of damaged drywall
  • Moisture control of affected areas
  • Minor structural repairs
  • Insurance deductible assistance

“This was a life-altering event for many Wilmington residents, and we know that they are hurting and need assistance. We are working to bring all available resources to bear including local, state, federal, volunteer, and non-profit partners, to help address immediate needs and begin long term recovery,” said AJ Schall, Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency. “The Milford Housing Development Corporation was a fantastic partner assisting with recovery efforts following Tropical Storm Isaias last summer. We are pleased to be able to partner with them again to assist the survivors from last week’s flooding with cleanup to start them on the path to recovery.”

Residents should apply for DEMA’s Flood Assistance Program by calling: 1-844-413-0038. Eligibility for this program includes those living in single households earning less than $52,000 per year, with a higher limit for families. Individuals will also need to show proof of residency in the area outlined here: Along the East side of Northeast Boulevard to 17th Street, from 17th to Bowers, from Bowers to E. 12th Street, from E. 12th Street to Pullman and from Pullman to Northeast Boulevard.

Click here to view a map of the eligible areas.

Mayor Mike Purzycki and the City of Wilmington’s emergency management team also announced a toll-free Crisis Cleanup Hotline number to serve as a clearinghouse for all the muck out, tear out, and water removal needs of those directly affected by the storm. Residents needing assistance can call 1-844-965-1386 to be connected with local volunteer groups that may assist with:  

  • Cutting fallen trees
  • Removing drywall, flooring and appliances
  • Tarping roofs
  • Mold mitigation

Hurricane Ida Home Cleanup - 844-965-1386In partnership with the Delaware Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (DEVOAD), these services are performed by volunteers and will be provided at no cost to the resident. Service is not guaranteed, and resources are limited. After providing your information to the Hotline, residents may be contacted by a representative from a participating organization who will determine if they are able to provide assistance.

“It’s a difficult task to pull lives and properties back together again following natural and unexpected disasters,” said City of Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “The past several days have tested the ability of the community and government to come together as quickly as possible to assist affected residents and businesses. We have a great deal of work to do, but the City and State are committed to the tasks and challenges ahead.”

 

The Crisis Cleanup Hotline will remain open with extended hours until Friday, October 1, 2021, though residents can call and leave a message at any time and a volunteer will return the call as soon as possible.

This hotline does not provide help with social services such as food, clothing, and shelter. For food assistance or other social services, please contact the Social Services Call Center: 302-571-4900. Deaf or Hearing-Impaired individuals can call 7-1-1 and give the Customer Service Call Center number. Residents should continue to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

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New Kirkwood Park Playground Dedicated on City of Wilmington’s East Side

Governor Carney, Mayor Purzycki join elected officials and school and community representatives at ribbon-cutting ceremony

WILMINGTON, Del. –  The City of Wilmington hosted a dedication ceremony on Tuesday for a new $339,000 playground in Kirkwood Park on East 11th Street—a project funded jointly by the City, State, and Christina School District. The Park and new playground are popular with students who attend the nearby Stubbs Early Education Center as well as by children and families in the local neighborhood. The improvements to Kirkwood Park are part of the City’s multiple-year and multi-million-dollar park enhancements program intended to make all City parks more attractive and enjoyable for residents.

“The future of our city and our state depends on our students’ success, and we believe firmly that their success in school and in life depends on their ability to read at a third-grade level,” said Governor John Carney. “That’s why this playground has different stations to encourage reading and learning. Investments being made in the Christina School District, in Kirkwood Park, and in projects across the City of Wilmington represent our hopes and aspiration for all children. These young students are our future.”

In opening the new playground, Mayor Mike Purzycki was joined by Delaware Governor John Carney, City Council Member Zanthia Oliver, City Parks and Recreation Director Ian Smith, Senator Darius Brown, and Christina School District Superintendent Dan Shelton, along with other school and community representatives.

The new playground was renovated by Landscape Structures/General Recreation and boasts several features that promote childhood literacy. These include a Custom Reading Shade section for public storybook readings and talking point panels developed by Too Small to Fail, a Clinton Foundation organization that promotes early brain and language development. The new Kirkwood Park playground also features a new Venti net climbing play structure that children can enjoy with their families, along with other “safe, age-appropriate and ability appropriate” play equipment.

“Research shows that simple, daily interactions like talking, reading, and singing with children from birth can boost their early brain and language development. Too Small to Fail is proud to partner with the City of Wilmington and Kirkwood Park Playground to help spark learning and language-rich moments between children and families through play,” said Too Small to Fail Director Jane Park. “This partnership is a powerful example of what’s possible when communities come together to help support families and set young children up for success in kindergarten and in life.”

Mayor Purzycki thanked the Governor, school district officials, Senator Brown, and Representative Stephanie T. Bolden for providing additional funding to support the City’s appropriation to improve Kirkwood Park.

“The new Kirkwood Park Playground is a welcome addition to Wilmington’s East Side and the Brandywine Creek education campus that also includes Stubbs Early Education Center and Howard High School,” said Senator Darius Brown, D-Wilmington. “I want to commend the City of Wilmington and the State of Delaware for making a strong investment in our community and our young people to create an inviting center of fun and learning that extends from Clifford Brown Walk to the Al O. Plant Bridge. Projects like this help to give our neighborhoods a sense of place and lift up families striving to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children.”

“Part of being a strong advocate for our youth is supporting the communities in which we work and live,” said Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden. “These renovations come at a crucial time for families who struggle to find beautiful amenities to enjoy, locally during a pandemic. As a retired teacher, I’m really a huge fan of the Custom Reading Shade section for public storybook readings. Every child deserves to play in a safe, clean, and fun environment, and Kirkwood Park playground will serve families for years to come.”

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New Christina River Bridge at Wilmington Riverfront Dedicated to Former State Senator Margaret Rose Henry

Governor John Carney was joined by state and local officials in dedicating the recently opened Christina River Bridge at the Wilmington Riverfront in honor of former state senator Margaret Rose Henry.

“Senator Margaret Rose Henry’s proud legacy of service to the people of the eastside of Wilmington and the State of Delaware has made a lasting impact,” said Governor John Carney. “The Margaret Rose Bridge that will now carry her name serves as an important connector for our communities, and as a welcoming symbol to the city.”

“Few public servants have had such a profound effect on the lives of the people of Delaware – and her Wilmington constituents in particular – as Senator Margaret Rose Henry, the first African American woman to serve in the Delaware Senate,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “As a legislator, Henry was adept at building bridges, so it is only fitting that the City’s newest bridge now bears her name.”

“This new bridge is about more than simply helping people cross the Christina River. It’s about connection and opportunity. With pedestrian and bicycle lanes, this multi-modal bridge will expand access to new educational and job opportunities for drivers, bikers and pedestrians alike. By opening up the east bank of the Riverfront, this bridge will help to spur the redevelopment of the Riverfront to Southbridge and connect small businesses along the Christina River with a larger customer base. As we celebrate the ribbon cutting of this new bridge, we also celebrate what greater connection and more opportunity can do for the future of Wilmington and the people who call it home,” Senator Carper said. “For years, I fought to secure funding for this project, and I’ve been proud to watch its progress every step of the way. This is a great day for Wilmington.”

“The Senator Margaret Rose Henry Bridge will have a lasting effect on the city of Wilmington, and I’m so glad that we can honor Margaret in this special way,” said Senator Coons. “This bridge is the product of years of work, planning, and building from Senator Carper, from DelDOT, and from people across Delaware. This project improves access for walkers and bikers, and, in turn, makes Wilmington a more vibrant and safer city for all.”

“Senator Margaret Rose Henry is a personal role model and icon in the State of Delaware. Her groundbreaking work and accomplishments in the General Assembly have touched and improved the lives of countless Delawareans and the impact of that work will be felt for generations to come,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “Today’s unveiling of the Senator Margaret Rose Henry Bridge in Wilmington is a fitting tribute to her work and an exciting addition to the city of Wilmington. Senator Henry spent her entire career building bridges to connect Delawareans and I’m confident this bridge in her namesake will do the same.”

Secretary of Transportation Jennifer Cohan commented, “The Senator Margaret Rose Henry Bridge and new approach roads are a game changer for the south side of Wilmington, improving access and traffic flow and making the entire area safer and more user-friendly whether you are on foot, bike, or in a car. It is a beautiful bridge named after a beautiful lady!”

The nearly $82 million project, which broke ground in June 2017, includes a 470-foot multi-modal bridge over the Christina River that includes two 12-foot travel lanes and a separated 14-foot wide bicycle and pedestrian path, and more than 1.5 miles of new and improved roads, sidewalks, parking, and drainage. The new access road for the Russel W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge will begin construction later this summer.

Senator Henry became the first African American woman to serve in the Delaware Senate in 1994, and has a decades-long career of public service, working in nonprofit administration and championing legislation for causes such as education, autism, health, housing, gun control, mental health, medical marijuana and expanded services for seniors. She last served in the General Assembly in 2018.