Councilman Weiner hosts national leaders on tour of Claymont & Wilmington
On Wednesday June 22nd, New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner is hosting a tour for officials of the National Association of Counties (NACo) of the Claymont Renaissance and the Christina Riverfront development project in the City of Wilmington. The tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the offices of the Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware (RDC). New Castle County Council President Paul Clark will accompany Councilman Weiner and the NACo delegation.
The purpose of the tour is to demonstrate to the NACo officials the success of local public – private partnerships in restoring and the redeveloping old industrial sites and other mature areas in need of revitalization so that these successful examples in Wilmington and Claymont can be emulated across the country.
NACo is a nationwide organization of County officials that represents the interest of two-thirds of all counties in the country; home to over 80% of the nation's population. NACo is an effective lobbying force that assures that federal policies are consistent with the positions officially adopted by NACo. NACo also acts as a clearing house for the exchange of legislative ideas, available grants and other vital information.
The NACo delegation includes Martin Harris, Director of NACo’ s Joint Center for Sustainable Growth, Julie Ufner, Director of NACo’s Energy, Environment and Land Use Steering Committee, and Joseph Dunn, Director of NACo’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Steering Committee. As Chairman of NACo’s Sustainability Leadership Team and as Chairman of NACo’s Land Use & Growth Management Subcommittee, Councilman Weiner has provided New Castle County citizens with multiple benefits from chairing two strategic national leadership positions. Councilman Weiner has used his position to obtain federal funds for New Castle County projects, drawn national attention to these two successful projects, and utilized his knowledge to develop and sponsor legislation which has aided economic redevelopment and fostered social equity while, at the same time, protecting the environment and integrating land use and transportation planning.
The Claymont Renaissance is a 5 year old public-private partnership established to coordinate streetscaping along its major roadway (Philadelphia Pike) and to create a pedestrian-oriented mixed used “traditional neighborhood design” village center, which integrates transit, greenway and park development, economic revitalization and the integration of historic elements. Councilman Weiner helped spearhead the Claymont Renaissance by raising most of the funds that have financed the planning phase and organizing the public monthly meetings of the diverse stakeholders’ groups, which include the Claymont Community Coalition, Claymont Business Owners Association, Claymont Historical Society, Claymont Fire Company, along with elected and appointed officials from the federal, State and County government. New Castle County and its Land Use Department has provided much of the funding and technical expertise. Thomas Comitta and Associates, a nationally renowned “New Urbanism” town planning company, based in West Chester, PA, has played a vital role also.
Funding has been provided by New Castle County, the State of Delaware, the federal government, Wilmington Metropolitan Area Planning Council, Florida Power & Light (FPL) Sunoco Inc., General Chemical, Streuver Brothers Eccles and Rouse, Citizens Bank, Commerce Bank and Wilmington Trust Company. Most of the funding, in excess of 250 Million dollars, was raised by Councilman Weiner.
Nearly 10 years ago, the General Assembly established the Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware (RDC) to create economic vitality in the long-abandoned brownfields along the Christina River. The mission of the RDC was to transform an industrial wasteland into a thriving recreational, shopping and residential area, built upon its rich history and long-ignored natural environmental features.
Initial public investment from the City of Wilmington, New Castle County, State of Delaware and the federal government, along with extensive private investment have now begun to generate significant tax revenues. Restoration initiatives resulted in environmental improvements on every acre of the redevelopment project. Infrastructure enhancements beautified and improved access to the area. Additionally, while creating a tourism hub for northern Delaware, the Wilmington Riverfront project has evolved as an important employment center for the City and the region.
Councilman Weiner said, “Our public-private partnerships are revitalizing strategically located areas in Claymont and Wilmington, while stimulating growth of new development financed by the private sector. I am pleased to have utilized the skills and knowledge that I have learned as Chairman of the National Association of Counties’ Sustainability Leadership Team. This national position provides me with regular and direct contact with the leading smart growth advocates throughout the country.”
Councilman Weiner has sponsored County legislation which promotes the redevelopment of underutilized and abandoned commercial and residential sites that strengthen our local economy by creating new jobs, saving money by reutilizing existing infrastructure and providing new housing opportunities for first time home buyers, senior citizens and traditional market sector housing purchasers.
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