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.”


Governor Carney Announces Downtown Development District Designations

Governor Carney designates new districts in Delaware City, Middletown, New Castle and Clayton 

DELAWARE CITY, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday announced the latest cities and towns receiving a Downtown Development Districts (DDD) designation. The program significantly builds on the state’s efforts to redevelop Delaware’s commercial business districts and drive private investment in towns and cities.   

Governor Carney officially designated four new Downtown Development Districts – in Delaware City, Middletown, New Castle and Clayton. Investors who make qualified improvements to residential, commercial or industrial properties in those districts now may qualify for state and local development incentives, including a rebate of up to 20 percent of eligible costs upon completion of the project.

“The Downtown Development Districts program is already bringing significant private investment to the eight currently designated cities and towns, and I am thrilled to welcome these four new designations to the program,” said Governor John Carney. “This expansion continues our commitment to revitalizing our downtown business districts and surrounding neighborhoods.”

Established in May 2014, the DDD program was created to spur private capital investment in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods; stimulate job growth and improve the commercial vitality of our cities and towns; and help build a stable community of long-term residents in our downtowns and other neighborhoods.

Since the first reservation awards in April 2015, the DDD program has been a catalyst for private investment in the eight Delaware downtowns previously designated. Those districts are: Dover, Georgetown, Harrington, Laurel, Milford, Seaford, Smyrna and Wilmington. To date, $31.6 million in rebates through the program has leveraged $597 million in private investment in those designated downtown districts.

Governor Carney made the announcement in downtown Delaware City on Monday morning, joined by local officials representing the new districts.

“We are excited about the transformation that will occur in downtown Delaware City thanks to this program. We want our residents to be able to live, work and enjoy themselves in our downtown, and this designation will go a long way to helping us achieve that,” said Delaware City Mayor Paul H. Johnson, Sr.

“The City of New Castle is honored to accept the Governor’s Downtown Development District designation, and we are excited to see the positive changes this program can have for our community,” said New Castle City Mayor Michael J. Quaranta. “Investors looking to make improvements in our city now have another incentive to help further strengthen our community.”

“The Town Council and I are committed to continuing the economic growth in Middletown, particularly within the main commercial district,” said Middletown Mayor Ken Branner. “We firmly believe this designation, combined with significant local incentives, will encourage private investment in the downtown areas that have been left out of current development.”

“This Downtown Development Districts designation provides a wonderful opportunity for the Town of Clayton to jump start our revitalization,” said Clayton Vice Mayor Alex Dias. “By participating in the program, our downtown is certain to prosper, maintain its character, and be the center of our community.”

The DDD program is administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA). In October, DSHA will launch a new funding round for large projects in each of Delaware’s Downtown Development Districts. Nearly $8 million in funding will be available for projects statewide. Applications to fund small projects are accepted on a rolling basis.

“We’re thrilled to work with homeowners, developers, and small business owners to drive investment in all of the newly-designated districts,” said Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “This program is already successful in the eight current districts, and we look forward to even more progress statewide.”

Governor Carney announced in February that the DDD program would expand through new district designations. Delaware’s Office of State Planning Coordination led the process to review the applications and designate the new districts. Applications were scored based on the town or city’s need for Downtown Development District incentives, the jurisdiction’s downtown revitalization plan and the creativity of its incentive package.

“All of Delaware’s towns and cities are unique, and I am so pleased that we were able to expand this program to the four diverse communities being recognized today,” said State Planning Director Constance Holland. “The best part of this program is that it supports such a wide range of redevelopment activities so each town can thrive. This program demonstrates that the state supports all of our local governments and their visions of economically vibrant, healthy, and complete communities.”


DNREC allocates $158,728 to community environmental projects through state’s Community Involvement Advisory Council

DOVER – Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced today the awarding of the 2019 Community Environmental Project Fund (CEPF) grant awards to nine Delaware non-profit organizations totaling $158,728 in funding. The CEPF – administered through the state’s Community Involvement Advisory Council under DNREC supervision – supports community environmental projects that mitigate pollution, enhance the environment, or create outdoor recreational opportunities.

The CEPF was established under House Bill 192 in February 2004. The legislation authorizes DNREC to withhold 25 percent of all civil or administrative penalties collected by the Department for violations of environmental regulations. It requires the Department to return that portion of penalties collected as grants to non-profit organizations in communities where the violations occurred. In 2011, the legislature tightened the CEPF’s geographic focus by mandating that its funds be returned to the communities within the same drainage basin where the violations occurred.

The 2019 grant recipients and the projects associated with them are:

Calvary Christian Academy (CCA) is the recipient of a $20,000 CEPF grant for the Pollenating Rain Garden Project. Calvary students will create a functional rain garden area to reduce the amount of impervious surface, improve water quality, and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff leaving the CCA property. In addition to the educational signs and benches to be constructed, the school will develop a curriculum to support this area as a living laboratory to increase learning opportunities for students.

Delaware Wild Lands seeks to protect and improve the waterways and water resources within and around the organization’s Roberts Farm with its $9,636 CEPF grant. The project’s environmental enhancement components include restoration of an agricultural field and removal of a hazardous scrap tire pile. The organization creates environmental educational and community engagement components by purchasing equipment for use by local schools and community groups in a water quality-monitoring project.

The H.E.L.P. Initiative’s “Milford Strong” campaign is a $20,000 pollution mitigation and energy efficiency project. H.E.L.P stands for Healthy Home, Energy Efficient, Lead Safe, and People Centric. Staff and volunteers will conduct 100 healthy home and energy assessments. They will install energy-saving light bulbs and home safety measures, including lead paint test kits, smoke and carbon dioxide detectors.

The Delaware Museum of Natural History will receive $19,062 for the Environmental Enhancement and Recreational Opportunity, Evolution Trail Project. The museum will install a handicapped-accessible, and environmentally responsible, 959 x 6 foot porous asphalt surface. The museum receives over 80,000 visitors each year whose visits include environmental education.

The Central Baptist Community Development Corporation will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant for a low-income community solar-powered, pollution mitigation and community education pilot program. A local bank has donated a house to the CDC at 716 N. Pine S, in Wilmington. The house will be equipped with a 4KW solar power system. This project will serve as a model for energy savings for the 140-150 homes the CDC will acquire in the East Side Rising Initiative. Central Baptist will also use the project as a training vehicle for 5-10 solar installation trainees.

The Delaware Center for Horticulture will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant to plant native and urban-tolerant plants along a stretch of Delaware Avenue in Wilmington. The environmental enhancement project will mitigate stormwater runoff and improve natural resources at the site.

The City of Rehoboth Beach Grove Access Project ($20,000 CEPF grant) will support construction of a floating dock and canoe/kayak launch. The construction of the launch landing area will provide recreational access for fishing, kayaking, and tour boats, and help to stabilize the banks of the Lewes/Rehoboth Canal.

The City of Newark Redevelopment of the Rodney Complex Stormwater Management Project is an Environmental Enhancement and Recreational Opportunity Project that will receive a $20,000 CEPF grant to install to 5-7 interpretive signs at the Rodney Complex Stormwater Management site. The signage will explain the environmental enhancement features of stormwater wet pond management including flood mitigation, nutrient management, and protection of native species for the thousands of projected visitors to the site each year.

The Delaware Community Foundation will receive a $10,000 pollution mitigation grant on behalf of the Plastic Free Delaware, Plastic Pollution Action Committee. The foundation will receive the funds and administer the funds for the Coalition to support to hire a part-time project manager to oversee and coordinate the outreach and educational efforts of the coalition. The Plastic Pollution Action campaign will educate the public and elected officials about pollution generated by single-use plastic bags. The campaign is aimed at securing the participation of the public, restaurants, and retail food outlets in “Plastic-straws-by-request approaches to pollution mitigation.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

New grants available from DNREC’s Division of Energy and Climate to support strong, sustainable communities

Municipalities, county governments and partners invited to apply for new Sustainable Communities Planning Grants

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Energy & Climate invites municipalities, county governments and their academic and non-profit partners to apply for the new Sustainable Communities Planning Grants now available. These competitive grants support planning and assessment projects that improve a community’s economy, environment and public health. Grants of up to $80,000 are available to counties or towns with populations of 5,000 residents or more, and grants of up to $40,000 are available to towns with populations of fewer than 5,000 residents.

Grant funds can be used to develop:

  • Community sustainability plans
  • Climate change vulnerability assessments and action plans
  • Greenhouse gas inventories and mitigation plans
  • Natural areas inventories and conservation plans

Partners such as universities and non-profit organizations working with a Delaware municipality or county are also invited to apply. Partners are not required to be Delaware-based, as long as the proposed project will be developed for and in tandem with a Delaware community. Additionally, multiple jurisdictions may partner on joint projects.

Why is sustainability important in a community?
Sustainable communities keep their residents safe from unexpected events while providing economic stability and a high quality of life. These communities are vibrant, healthy and prepared; they balance environmental protection, resiliency, economic growth and social objectives. Planning plays a crucial role in making a community sustainable.

The Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program was designed to help communities develop a vision, assess opportunities and draft an actionable plan that can be implemented over time.

“Delaware communities have already shown initiative in making their hometowns more sustainable – expanding bike networks, harnessing energy from renewable resources and reducing flood risks,” said Sustainability Planner Bahareh van Boekhold, Division of Energy & Climate. “Sustainable Communities Planning Grants will help build healthy, greener communities that attract new businesses, create new jobs, protect citizens and safeguard communities’ natural and cultural heritage.”

“Municipal and county governments hold the keys to Delaware’s sustainable future, but many don’t have the resources they need to lay out a vision and path towards that future. This grant provides that opportunity,” said Climate Section Administrator Susan Love, Division of Energy & Climate. “Communities that invest time and effort in planning and assessment position themselves for on-the-ground improvements and innovations that will help make their communities healthier, more prepared and more vibrant places to live, work and play.”

Sustainable Communities Planning Grant recipients who successfully complete their projects may be eligible for future grants toward implementing sustainability needs identified in the planning and assessment process.

How to apply for a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant
The Division of Energy & Climate will host a webinar Tuesday, March 14 to review the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program and take questions from potential applicants. For webinar time and access information, complete grant program guidelines, resources and a downloadable application, visit the sustainable planning webpage at

Completed grant applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 2, 2017. Electronic submissions are preferred. Please email the grant application as a PDF attachment to Applications also may be faxed to 302-739-1840 or sent by mail to Division of Energy & Climate, ATTN: Bahareh van Boekhold, State Street Commons, Suite 5A, 100 West Water Street, Dover, DE 19904.

For more information, call the Division of Energy & Climate at 302-735-3480, or email or

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 47, No. 35


Lt. Governor and CJC Announce 2014 Byrne Grant Recipients

82% of non-profit funding dedicated to re-entry services; up from 46% in 2007

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, Chair of the Criminal Justice Council, and Chris Kervick, Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Council, announced the 2014 Byrne Grant recipients at a press conference at the Rick VanStory Resource Center in Wilmington.

This year’s Byrne Grants were awarded to seven non-profits agencies – representing all three counties – that specialized in the CJC’s priority areas of Re-entry and Recidivism Reduction for Adults and Juveniles, Juvenile Prevention and Intervention, and Reducing Homicide and Violent Crime. The total of all awards is $501,079.76 and 82% of funding is dedicated to re-entry services, up from 46% in 2007. The increase in re-entry funding reflects a decision by the CJC to concentrate its limited federal grant resources in this important area.


Lt. Governor Denn said, “These groups have proven track records of providing quality services that continue to make a difference in our communities. I am impressed with their plans to expand these much-needed programs in our state.”

“The Byrne Justice Assistance Grant is the cornerstone federal assistance program for the Criminal Justice Council,” said Executive Director Chris Kervick. “It allows the flexibility required to support local programs as they provide much needed services to the people who need them most. The Criminal Justice Council congratulates this year’s grant recipients and we look forward to working with the agencies to make each program successful.”

Rick VanStory Resource Center CEO Allen Conover said today, “We would like to thank the Delaware Criminal Justice Council for the opportunity to enhance our ability to provide essential services to individuals involved with the criminal justice system that are mentally ill and/or that suffer from substance abuse. We look forward to utilizing our collective experiences to assist others.”

Here is a list of recipients, the award amount, and short description of what the funding will be used for:

Boys & Girls Clubs at Oak Orchard/Riverdale: Stop It Before It Starts Prevention Program $50,930.00
Facilitating 2 curriculums: “Positive Action” on bullying, substance abuse, and suicide for 8 to 13 year-olds; and “Courage to Speak” on drug abuse prevention for parents. Grant will fund program facilitators, counselor, and educational equipment.

Courageous Hearts Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning Center Equine Assisted Learning: Power Tools for Living Program $39,690.00
Providing therapeutic equine activities for at-risk youth. The program teaches youths to interact with and care for horses, and offers mental health counseling. Grant will cover salary for the director, bookkeeper, equine specialists, & therapist, as well as facility rental.

Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing, Inc.: Re-entry Opportunity and Recidivism Prevention $97,900.00
Provide shelter, job placement, case management, and counseling to former inmates.

The Hospitality School, Inc.: Culinary Arts & Restaurant Training Reducing Recidivism $69,933.00
Provide culinary training for hard-to-employ individuals, specially focusing on ex-offenders. This free, 14-week program also teaches soft skills & financial literacy, and includes an internship.

Rick VanStory Resource Centers: Case Management for Mental Health Offenders $115,711.76
Provide case management, mental health counseling, and substance abuse treatment to homeless former inmates. Program will operate in all counties.

Victims’ Voices Heard: Victim Impact: Listen and Learn / Stand Down: Courage to Change $60,000.00
Implement two programs that involve group sessions at correctional institutions; one focuses on victim impact awareness and the other on setting and working toward re-entry goals.

The Way Home, Inc.: Expanding Way Home Case Management Services $66,915.00
Add to the agency’s case management staff to serve inmates who are re-entering the community. Case manager will assist with employment, education, and basic needs.

Background: The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program (42 U.S.C. 3751(a)) is the primary provider of federal criminal justice funding to state and local jurisdictions. JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system from multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces to crime prevention and domestic violence programs, courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives. JAG funded projects may address crime through the provision of services directly to individuals and/or communities and by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of criminal justice systems, processes, and procedures.

Event pictures can be found here.