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.


DelDOT Announces Opening of New Christina River Bridge and Approach Roads at Wilmington Riverfront

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announces that the new Christina River Bridge and approach roads at the Wilmington Riverfront has opened to pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicle traffic as of 2:00pm today. The new access roads and bridge improve multimodal traffic flow around the Wilmington Riverfront and provides direct access to Route 13 and the southeastern side of Wilmington.

The nearly $50 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, and parking. The new access road for the Russel W. Peterson Wildlife Refuge will begin construction later this summer.

An opening event will be announced in July.


State to Begin Coronavirus Testing at Wilmington High-Rise Buildings on June 2

NEW CASTLE (June 1, 2020) – As a way to reach vulnerable populations, the State of Delaware will begin coronavirus testing at 10 Wilmington high-rise buildings on Tuesday, June 2, with the bulk of the testing being conducted by the Division of Public Health starting Wednesday, June 3.

On Tuesday, June 2, the State, in partnership with the Wilmington Housing Authority, Westside Family Healthcare and the Saint Francis LIFE Center will provide viral tests to seniors from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and distribute care kits and educational materials at Baynard Apartments, 309 W. 18th St.

Then beginning on Wednesday, June 3, 20-person teams, including members of Delaware’s Medical Reserve Corps and the Delaware Association of Physician Assistants, will go door-to-door at a total of nine high-rise buildings over three separate days. At each location, there will be a Division of Public Health lead. The medical providers will bring nasal swab testing to people who typically may not be able to leave their homes.

This testing is being done in partnership with the City of Wilmington, the Delaware Medical Reserve Corps, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Delaware Association of Physician Assistants.

“We know that seniors and low-income communities in our state are experiencing disproportionate rates of coronavirus infection,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), and a practicing family physician. “Meeting communities where they are through this targeted testing in Wilmington’s high-rises will help us identify individuals who are positive for COVID-19, provide them with the supports and resources they need to isolate from others, and, ultimately, slow the transmission of this disease.”

“We are on a mission in Wilmington to protect each other from COVID-19 and to keep the virus from spreading,” said Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. “The State has been providing invaluable guidance to us since the start of the pandemic in Delaware and we appreciate these additional efforts to reach our City’s most vulnerable population through more and more testing.”

“From the start of this health crisis, Wilmington City Council has been expressing the need for more testing locations here in the city for our most vulnerable populations,” said Wilmington City Council President Hanifa Shabazz. “I am so glad that we have been able to work with partners to provide this much-needed service. “

The schedule for the Division of Public Health testing is:

Wednesday, June 3: Terry Apartments, 2400 N. Broom St.; Park View Apartments, 1800 N. Broom St.; and Compton Towers/Apartments, 325 E. Fifth St.

Thursday, June 4: Windsor Apartments, 500 N. Walnut St.; Ingleside Apartments, 1005 N. Franklin St.; and Luther Towners II, 1420 N. Franklin St.

Monday, June 8: Luther Towers I, 1201 N. Harrison St.; Lincoln Towers, 1800 N. DuPont St.; and The Antonian, 1701 W. 10th St.

On May 8, Governor John Carney announced a significant statewide expansion of Delaware’s community-based testing program, conducting 80,000 tests per month. The State of Delaware is prioritizing testing under the program for:

  • Any symptomatic individual.
  • Anyone with known exposure to COVID-19.
  • Vulnerable Delaware populations, including elderly Delawareans and members of low-income communities.
  • Certain front-line essential workers.

For more information on Delaware’s testing program, including a testing calendar, go to:
https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/testing/

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The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.


State, City Leaders Announce Group Violence Intervention (GVI) Project in Wilmington

Social service agencies will partner with law enforcement to prevent gun violence

WILMINGTON, Del. – State of Delaware social service agencies will partner with law enforcement to prevent gun violence in the City of Wilmington under a Group Violence Intervention (GVI) project announced by state and city leaders on Tuesday.

Governor John Carney joined Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki, Attorney General Kathy Jennings, Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy, and Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Kara Walker to announce their shared commitment to launching the evidence-based GVI strategy in Wilmington.   

Evidence shows that gun violence is concentrated among a small number of people at very high risk for both victimization and violent offending. The GVI strategy is intended to help these high-risk individuals avoid involvement in the criminal justice system, keep them safe, stabilize their lives, and create accountability for violence. DHSS, the Delaware Department of Correction, and the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families are among the agencies that will provide intervention services under the partnership.

“For any city to be successful, it needs to be safe,” said Governor John Carney. “Under the leadership of Mayor Purzycki and Chief Tracy, we’ve seen a significant reduction in gun violence in our city. But – as there are in all cities – there are still communities that are disproportionately impacted by gun violence in their neighborhoods. Those shootings traumatize children and families, and tear apart entire communities. We know that this gun violence is concentrated among a small group of people who are at very high risk for offending – but also at a very high risk for being victims of gun violence. We believe we can make a real difference if we are able to reach those at highest risk, and help them avoid involvement in the criminal justice system, keep them safe, and stabilize their lives. Thank you to Mayor Purzycki, Chief Tracy, Attorney General Jennings, Professor David Kennedy and many others for their partnership on this important work.”

“Wilmington is making significant gains regarding public safety,” said Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki. “We are a safer City today because we are policing the City differently, and that difference is largely because of the trust that has been built between the police department and our citizens. Chief Tracy has introduced new and effective layers to our policing methods in Wilmington and today we add another layer that can continue to improve lives and further reduce crime. My thanks to the Governor, to the Health and Social Services Secretary and to our criminal justice leaders for embracing this effort and to David Kennedy, Chief Tracy and former Chief Cummings who are deeply invested in making sure this initiative works for all of us.”

“This is a new day in Wilmington’s efforts to curtail violence in our neighborhoods,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Through this initiative, we are recognizing the social and economic dynamics that so often drive violent crime, and we are disrupting those dynamics at their source. This program has shown remarkable promise in sharply reducing group violence and I am committed to its missions: protecting public safety, addressing the causes of anger and hopelessness that exist in our most underserved communities, and providing meaningful alternatives to those who would build a better life for themselves.”

The intergovernmental initiative will bring together state-level social service agencies with the Wilmington Police Department, the Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and community leaders in an effort to further and more significantly reduce homicide and shooting incidents in Wilmington. Intervention will be based on frontline knowledge, and real-time data on violence and individuals who face the highest risk of violence.

The GVI work will be led by Bobby Cummings, the former Wilmington Police Chief who has been appointed Director of Group Violence at the Department of Health and Social Services. The National Network for Safe Communities at John Jay College, led by Professor David Kennedy, will provide technical assistance.

“Over the past several years, the Wilmington Police Department has embraced a range of proven, evidence-based policing strategies, with focused deterrence being key,” said Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy. “Implementing Group Violence Intervention – the next phase of our layered, comprehensive approach – carries the promise of achieving continued reductions in violent crime, while simultaneously offering support and wraparound services to those who embrace an alternative to engaging in gun violence.”

“We’re extremely excited to be working with Delaware and Wilmington to prevent homicide and gun violence,” said David Kennedy, Director of the National Network for Safe Communities at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “We’ve known and worked with Chief Tracy for years, and the commitment of the Governor’s Office puts Delaware amongst a small but growing number of states making an executive commitment to evidence-based public safety approaches. This work saves lives, keeps people out of the justice system, and builds trust between police and communities. We’re honored to be part of it.”

“As leaders, we all have a responsibility to alter the cycle of poverty, trauma and violence in order to keep individuals and families safe and healthy,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. “The newly appointed Director of Group Violence Intervention in the Department of Health and Social Services will have the resources and the staffing support to meet the social services needs of the small number of people in Wilmington who are at a very high risk for both victimization and for violent offending.”

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The Riverside Neighborhood named as the 19th Purpose Built Community in the United States

The goal of this community-based effort is neighborhood revitalization in order to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by creating pathways out of poverty

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki today joined with Governor John Carney, County Executive Matthew Meyer, City Council Member Zanthia Oliver, the REACH Riverside Development Corporation (RRDC or REACH Riverside) and the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA) for a major community redevelopment announcement. Expanding on the City’s commitment to partner with local neighbors and community leaders to revitalize Wilmington’s disadvantaged areas, the Mayor said he hopes today’s announcement will bring renewed hope and opportunity to citizens who are living and working in and around the Riverside neighborhood in northeast Wilmington.

Nationally renowned Purpose Built Communities, a non-profit consulting firm that works side-by-side with community leaders, residents and others to plan and implement holistic community revitalization efforts, announced today that it has designated Wilmington’s Riverside neighborhood as the 19th Purpose Built Community in the United States.

Under the Purpose Built model, REACH Riverside will work in partnership with community members and other partners to develop and implement strategies for a cradle-to-college or career education pipeline, mixed-income housing, and a community health and wellness initiative. The goals for Riverside include the development of 400 new units of high-quality, mixed-income housing, the enhancement and expansion of Kingswood Community Center’s Early Childhood education program, the addition of a high school to the East Side Charter School’s current pre-K through grade 8, and the expansion of the Kingswood Community Center facility to greatly increase access by Riverside residents to health and wellness services. Working in close collaboration with REACH Riverside is The Teen Warehouse, a partnership of more than 50 teen-serving organizations that will provide school-day and after-school health and wellness programs and services to Wilmington youths between the ages of 13 and 19.

“Today’s wonderful news follows years of research, planning and development by the City, WHA, community leaders and Riverside residents, all of whom recognize that it is time to invest in an inclusive, holistic manner to make Riverside a neighborhood of opportunity for all of its current and future residents.” said Mayor Purzycki. “We are very excited about the prospects for the future of this neighborhood and this area of the City.”

“The State of Delaware is proud to be partnering with Mayor Purzycki, other local officials, and community leaders to strengthen communities across the City of Wilmington, and ensure that resources are reaching economically-distressed communities that need those resources the most,” said Governor John Carney. “We want to make sure that everyone in Wilmington and across our state has an opportunity to succeed, and contribute to Delaware’s success. Investing in our communities will help us achieve that goal. I want to thank Mayor Purzycki and all of the community leaders involved for their leadership on this important initiative.”

In thanking those who were instrumental in making the Purpose Built Community dream become a reality, Charles McDowell, Chairman of the REACH Riverside Board of Directors, reflected on the project’s history up to this point. “Five years ago, we visited the country’s first Purpose Built Community in Atlanta and made a commitment on the spot to bring that level of progress to Wilmington,” said McDowell. “We thank the Purpose Built organization for recognizing the hard work and commitment that has brought us together today, and the willingness and eagerness of countless partners and friends to walk beside us on this journey.”

Purpose Built services, which are provided at no cost, are tailored to each community’s needs and the dynamics of the neighborhood they are working to revitalize. With a goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, Purpose Built uses best practices to guide neighborhood revitalization by creating pathways out of poverty for the lowest-income residents, and building strong, economically diverse communities.

Mayor Purzycki praised the unique, multi-party public private partnership that is working together to implement the Purpose Built Communities model in Riverside. He said that although there will be numerous organizations, groups and individuals involved in completing the estimated ten-year Purpose Built process, four lead entities have entered into a formal agreement to represent what are referred to as the “four pillars” of the Purpose Built model—housing, education, community wellness and leadership by a community “quarterback.” The entities are:

  • The REACH Riverside Renaissance Development Corporation, branded as REACH Riverside (Redevelopment, Education And Community Health), which will take the lead on the project, serving as the “Community Quarterback.” Comprised of community leaders who have the skills, connections and reputation to attract the necessary community partners and funding, their sole job is to work with the community and partners to manage the overall process to ensure that all parties are pursuing common goals. Logan Herring, who currently serves as Executive Director of the Kingswood Community Center, will transition from his role at Kingswood to become the CEO of the REACH Riverside project.
  • The Wilmington Housing Authority, which owns the existing Riverside public housing project, will work in partnership with Pennrose, LLC, a nationally recognized development company that specializes in mixed-income, affordable housing, to develop the high-quality mixed income housing in the Riverside neighborhood.
  • Kingswood Community Center will play a central role as landowner for a portion of the new housing and the home of other project components, including early learning, senior services, and health and wellness services and other amenities needed to support a robust neighborhood.
  • East Side Charter School, which borders the north end of Riverside, will be the foundation of the education pillar and will lead the establishment of a “cradle to college and career education pipeline” to serve the neighborhood children.

John Hill, Executive Director of the Wilmington Housing Authority, said the WHA is proud to be a partner in this effort. “The Riverside revitalization initiative provides the opportunity to reinvent this neighborhood with services that include mixed-income housing, livable space, high-quality education and health services,” said Hill. “What we achieve here can serve as a model for other distressed neighborhoods in our city.”

The Purpose Built Communities model, which emerged out of a neighborhood revitalization initiative in the late 1990’s in Atlanta, Georgia, has demonstrated the importance of private sector leadership in breaking the cycle of poverty in neighborhoods that have long suffered with low levels of educational achievement, high unemployment, crime and blight. Purpose Built is currently working to achieve these goals with a total of 20 network member communities throughout the United States.

“We have been impressed with the effort underway in Wilmington ever since the Mayor, Charlie and their team first came to Atlanta,” said Purpose Built Communities President Carol Naughton. “Their commitment to understanding what works best for Riverside, its families, and its children, their willingness to partner with the community, and their ability to provide leadership to bring the necessary partners and resources to the table will make a great difference for the neighborhood and its residents.”