New Castle County unveils development blueprint [video]

 (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

New economic development plans unveiled in New Castle County and in Wilmington on Monday.

“We’re no longer the chemical capital of the world or the banking capital of the world and we don’t build automobile plants,” said New Castle County Executive Thomas Gordon who’s looking to rejuvenate an entrepreneurial spirit in the state.

Gordon joined Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams along with other local and state leaders to announce new plans that will serve as a blueprint for areas where economic growth and sustainability are needed. It’s the first ever comprehensive plan for the county that focuses on a rigorous self assessment to determine the competitive strengths of Northern Delaware.

“We’re focused on opportunities at the Wilmington Port, Route 9 corridor and we’re going to be focused on other groups of land that are large and offer opportunity for commercial establishments to come here,” Gordon said.

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The plans range from short and long term goals that benefit both the city and county. They were formed based on ideas and concerns from the business community and out-of-state consulting firms.

City of Wilmington Office of Economic Development, Director Jeff Flynn hesitated to share details about the initiatives but said there are a number of them.

“There are 10 initiatives and 33 specific recommendations,” Flynn said.

According to Flynn, there’s also a Targeted Industry Report that was birthed from focus groups and it provides a list of industries that might be a good fit for Wilmington.

As for the initiatives, Flynn said they all coordinate well with Mayor Williams’ policy objectives for the city including creating more new residences, reducing crime, increasing educational opportunities, and increasing workforce development.

Meanwhile, county and city officials are excited to move forward with economic development plans including Downtown Visions Executive Director Marty Hageman.

“It’s a road map that can improve our existing business climate here in the City of Wilmington, it’s going to diversify our economy and it’s going to create jobs and more importantly grow the city’s tax base,” Hageman said.

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