New mayor sees promise in Wilmington as it works to shed ‘murder’ label

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New Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki has inherited a city that is going through a multitude of changes while trying to shake a violent reputation. (NewsWorks file)

New Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki has inherited a city that is going through a multitude of changes while trying to shake a violent reputation. (NewsWorks file)

Wilmington, Delaware’s largest city, has gone through some growing pains as it attempts to expand  attractions along its riverfront.

On the economic front, DuPont — which has deep roots in Wilmington — is heading in a new direction as it is set to merge with Dow Chemical.

And now leading the city of 71,000 residents is a new mayor who said he feels encouraged by the possibilities.

“As I look out over the city, I see whole lot of room for optimism,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki. “I think — with the right strategic approach and using the proper tactics — I think we can really transform our city.”

For Wilmington to transform, it will have to shake its notoriety as one of the most dangerous small cities in America and the nickname “Murder Town.” 

Purzycki said he will battle that perception.

“Frankly, the city does not deserve that its reputation is based solely on violence,” he said, admitting that the moniker has created a branding problem for the city. “We have poverty. We’ve neglected to deal with it properly, but this is a remarkably attractive city and that should be the headliner.

“That’s the approach I take,” he added. “Not to dwell on that old reputation, but supplant it with a new reputation.”

To hear more of the interview with Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, including his plans to combat poverty and help spur economic development, press play at the top of the page.

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