Claymont receives national award for renaissance project
By Jesse Chadderdon
Calling Claymont redevelopment efforts on target “for a great sustainable community,” Martin Harris, of the National Association of Counties, presented
county officials and community planners with an award and $5,000 for their efforts.
Harris said New Castle County was one of 12 municipalities to receive the 2005-2006 Center for Sustainable Communities Award, and one of four to receive a cash prize. The award, he said, is given to innovative county-led partnerships with both the private sector and community groups in developing economically prosperous, sustainable and socially equitable communities.
Claymont’s redevelopment efforts have been ongoing for more than six years, as community leaders attempt to revitalize a community that has become known for its gas stations and fast food restaurants rather than its neighborhoods and historical destinations.
The “renaissance” as it is called, centers on the concept of introducing pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development along Philadelphia Pike.
The area has adopted its own set of design guidelines for new development, and a streetscape plan for Philadelphia Pike is planned, although it has been delayed because of funding issues at the Delaware Department of Transportation.
Last month, the New Castle County Council approved a 66-acre redevelopment project for the Brookview Townhome site, which will feature 1,200 housing units, as well as shops, restaurants, parkland and transit access. A central component to that plan is a guarantee by developer Commonwealth-Setting to provide 240 workforce housing units with price caps.
“Our selection as a Sustainable Community Award winner is a tribute to our county leaders, partners and community,” said Councilman Robert Weiner (R-Chatham), who has helped lead the community planning process. “As chair of the
National Association of Counties Sustainability Leadership Team, I am particularly pleased that my own county embodies the pillars of sustainable communities – economic enhancement, environmental stewardship and social well-being.”
The $5,000 prize, which was granted to the county, was passed on to the Claymont Renaissance Development Corporation (CRDC) for planning efforts at a June 27 ceremony at the Claymont Community Center.
“It’s our mission to coordinate the
redevelopment and revitalization here in Claymont,” said CRDC President Brett
Saddler. “This award reflects the hard work of the community and of our government officials and business leaders.”
County Executive Chris Coons said he hoped the efforts in Claymont could be
duplicated in other parts of the county.
“I think this is a positive model for New Castle County, but also for communities throughout the nation,” he said. “This is proof that results can be achieved as the outgrowth of a lot of terrific, dedicated energy on the part of a lot of people.”
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