That is the core of this comment that Paul Calistro posted in the Daily Delaware thread. It is a good set of questions by someone who thinks about what is going on the city alot and by someone who cares a great deal about what happens here. Add your comments below and I hope Paul will check in and engage in a conversation here:
Let’s talk about Wilmington in desperate need of life support.
If we are honest with ourselves we would admit that we are all in fear of the continued decline of Wilmington as a city. And if were equally honest as Delawareans we would come to grips with the fact that Wilmington is too important to Delaware’s economy to allow it to fail. It is like watching a family member who is ill and everyone thinks someone else should be the care taker. Everyone is concerned some feel there is no hope and others feel they are powerless.
We have all seen what happens to Cities throughout the United States when they fail. Recovery of a failed city usually takes many decades to recover and the cost is staggering. Wilmington as a whole is in serious peril. In many of it”s communities the housing crisis of 2006 have accelerated the decline. A close look at the current sales and values of homes in many neighborhoods reveal that the city’s housing market, a vital signs of it’s health is in critical condition . While other communities in New Castle County have enjoyed a housing recovery, many of Wilmington’s neighborhood’s property values are still heading in the opposite direction. For example, the median price of homes in census tracts 22 and 23 have declined from a high of $80,000 to a current value of $16,000, The values are so low that owners both homeowners as well as investors would be financially foolish to maintain their properties without either incentives or strong a strong belief that reinvestment in their communities are likely. The effects of a lack of an intervention will lead to a huge increase in the number of vacant and blighted homes in the very near future.
Over the past three years , sales throughout the city have been driven significantly by short sales and foreclosures. Data shows that in 2011 over 40% of the sales were distressed . The past 12 months show a slight improvement to roughly a third. The remainder of New Castle County has already seen a housing recovery.
What is our plan to fuel a recovery? This crisis requires a joint strategy of all levels of our government if we are going to see the trend reverse. I know crime is the major issue that occupies most residents and leaders discussions . But what we need is to have is not only a plan for crime but a serious plan for reinvestment in the fabric of Wilmington it’s communities. Without a plan the patient is terminal. Without all levels of government agreeing they need to collectively intervene the City will be the patient looking for a care taker.