Mayor Mike Purzycki
It’s been two years since I had the honor of being sworn in as your Mayor, so it is a good time to reflect on the state of our City, what we’ve accomplished and what we still need to do over the next two years. So far, we’ve worked hard to put our city on the right path — a path to being a safer City, strengthening our neighborhoods, a path to attracting business, with new jobs and vitally needed tax revenues, and a path, above all, of inclusion and shared prosperity. While we still face a number of challenges, we have much to be optimistic about. In our quest to make Wilmington a safer, cleaner, stronger, more caring and more efficient City, we are making great strides:
- Clean, safe, and prosperous neighborhoods – From our West Center City Stabilization Project and Beautiful City initiative to the Purpose Built revitalization of Riverside and the South Wilmington Wetlands Project, we’re rebuilding and preserving communities all across Wilmington.
- A safer city – Police Chief Robert Tracy has implemented data driven policing, directed patrols, and much improved community engagement, which has resulted in more officers on the streets and a significant and dramatic decrease in crime, including homicides and shootings. Serious crime is down by double digits and our public safety improvements mean that Wilmington is safer now than it has been over the past decade.
- A strong economy, jobs – Not only are Downtown and the Riverfront thriving, welcoming new restaurants, hotels and residents at a remarkable clip, businesses such as Carvertise, Wilmington Brew Works, Campanella’s Auto & Tire Center, the Delaware Blue Coats, and Light Action Productions’ Film, TV and Movie Soundstage continue to move into the City while we look for new ways to help individuals find work and train our youth for the careers of the future.
- Clean parks, more beautiful public spaces – We continue to work with a variety of partners to revitalize and improve upon our many parks and open spaces, including the rehabilitation of Rodney Square, the City’s main park, as well as three West Side play grounds and improvements to east side parks, as well improvements to Barbara Hicks and Helen Chambers parks and a new Downtown Community Garden.
- Recreation, education for youth and adults – Through the Mayor’s Scholarship Awards Program and our 2-year-old HBCU initiative, we have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to help nearly a thousand high school students pay for college, while at the same time providing new initiatives like Play Streets, Tennis in the Streets, and scores of free sports camps. And this year I presented a plan to revitalize both the Eden Park and Baynard Stadium Sports Complexes which will open additional opportunities for citizens of all ages to enjoy these two great facilities.
- A city government that is fiscally sound and well run – While responsibly addressing looming budget deficits through more responsible spending, we’ve maintained a strong bond rating, and are making progress at improving government efficiency. Much improved customer service throughout the government is our 2019 goal.
- A diversity of cultural offerings – From popular annual events such as the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and the Blues Festival to holiday traditions like Caroling on the Square to a revitalized Art Loop to all manner of events, festivals, competitions, and institutions, Wilmington has an abundance of cultural riches for a city our size.
- Better technology – By improving our social media presence, and launching initiatives like Parkmobile, the Southbridge Solar Park, and the new Wilmington Police Department Compstat online crime mapping program, we are making the most of new technology to improve communication and government operations in a variety of areas, even as we look ahead to new projects such a 311 Call Center and LED street lighting throughout the City.
- A city that cares – Whether recognizing and celebrating important collective and individual contributions to our City, or partnering with and supporting those who help our neighbors in need, Wilmington is a proud City that is passionate about its future. I am honored to serve as Mayor and ask for your support over the next two years as were move forward on our goals. The new “It’s Time” image and promotional campaign we launched in 2018 gives for all citizens to share in our prosperity and tell their story to the world. I am very much looking forward to the next two years of working with you and for you.
34 Young People Attend Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” Book Tour in Philadelphia
Mayor Purzycki sent 34 young people from Wilmington to Philadelphia last month to see former First Lady Michelle Obama at the Wells Fargo Center, a stop on her nationwide tour to promote her new book, “Becoming.” The Mayor used free tickets he received from Mrs. Obama’s office and arranged the transportation for the young people and their chaperones.
“When the former First Lady’s office contacted me offering free tickets, I knew we had to make this a special night for some of Wilmington’s youngest fans of Mrs. Obama,” said Mayor Purzycki. “This was a wonderful opportunity for them to hear about the life of a living historical figure that they knew about and admired.” The Mayor added he is most appreciative of the former First Lady for making the tickets available to the youth from Wilmington.
Wilmington Police Department Receives Project Safe Neighborhoods Award
The Wilmington Police Dept. received one of 16 Project Safe Neighborhoods awards given at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) National Conference. These awards recognize individuals and groups for their dedication and contribution to the success of PSN. “We had a lot of impressive nominees, but even with tough competition, these 16 stood out. I want to thank each one of them for their service and congratulate them on a job well done,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
“We’ve spent the past year and half building and rebuilding connections to people and organizations throughout Wilmington based on our police department’s new operating philosophy that only through strong community engagement will the WPD succeed in its mission to prevent and reduce crime,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki. “I can’t express how proud I am of the progress that Chief Tracy and the men and women of the WPD have made in promoting and encouraging community engagement. That their work is appreciated at home and has now been recognized at a national level confirms we are on the right track to creating safer neighborhoods and a stronger City.”
The Project Safe Neighborhoods Award for Outstanding Local Police/Sheriff Department Involvement went to the Wilmington Police largely for their efforts in the Mayor’s West Center City project, the heart of Delaware’s PSN efforts. WPD also established a “Real Time Crime Center” to support data-driven policing strategies—efforts that have made Wilmington safer for everyone. The WPD has reduced homicides by 33%, shootings by over 70%, burglaries by 31%, and rapes by 100% in the target neighborhood.