From the Publisher – May 2015

Building a Better Wilmington

A guest visiting from Virginia recently made an interesting comment to me. She had lived in Wilmington for quite some time before moving south, so I valued her perspective.

My guest awoke very early on Saturday morning, so before our coffee conversation she had taken the time to read the entire April issue of Out & About. That earned her brownie points as a houseguest, but then she elevated her standing by making the following observation: “You know, if you just picked up this magazine and didn’t know anything about Wilmington, you’d think it was a wonderful place. The issue was so full of life and there appeared to be so many things to do. What a contrast to all the negative news we keep hearing.”

Well, thank you. Can I get you another cup of coffee? Perhaps a croissant?

The truth is, Out & About Magazine has that luxury. As a monthly variety magazine we have the latitude to focus on the positive and leave the responsibility of reporting hard news and crime to news organizations. And I hear few pleading for more crime coverage.

It’s important that we tell the whole story, which in Wilmington’s case means balancing the bad news with the good. Not hyperbole, just true stories that demonstrate there are many points of light in our city.

But this is not an attempt to shoot the messenger. Wilmington does have a crime problem, and by all means that information should be reported to the public. In fact, one could argue that the silver lining to the recent coverage of Wilmington’s crime woes is that it has turned the right heads. And now the governor and attorney general as well as our Congressional representatives are promising to help.

But the challenges of urban America are not unique to Wilmington, and are not going to be solved any time soon. So while a coalition of the willing works to reverse years of denial, it’s important that we tell the whole story, which in Wilmington’s case means balancing the bad news with the good. Not hyperbole, just true stories that demonstrate there are many points of light in our city.

This issue marks the first installment in a four-part series by senior writer Larry Nagengast that we’re calling: Building A Better Wilmington. These stories will focus on the construction projects that could significantly improve various pockets of our city. Some aspects of these projects you will be reading about for the first time here.

The first installment is a look at the Creative District, spearheaded by Wilmington Renaissance Corporation. This is an ambitious endeavor to resurrect Quaker Hill and the area bordered by Shipley, Fourth, Washington and Ninth streets by creating an artist live/work community.

In June we will focus on the Riverfront and the incredible momentum that continues there. July takes us to Market Street and some interesting projects led by the dauntless Buccini Pollin Group. Finally, in August we look at the impressive early results of the coalition West Side Grows Together. West Side’s Better Block event Aug. 3-5 will provide the organization’s vision for the future of Union Street.

Each of these projects, regardless of whether they reach their full potential, means more jobs, more residents, and a positive step forward for our city. They also are a tangible reminder that for every negative story there’s a positive one. And broadening one’s perspective is never a bad thing.

So, what do you think? Please comment below.