Steering Committee Meeting #1
January 12, 2021 | 5:00 – 6:30pm ET

Steering Committee:
○ Bill Swiatek, SWPN, Co-chair & WILMAPCO
○ Diana Dixon, Southbridge Civic Association, Vice President
○ Ella Edwards, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center
○ Jennifer Adkins, American Rivers
○ Kate DuPont Phillips, Healthy Communities Delaware
○ Marie Reed, Southbridge Civic Association, Former President
○ Matt Harris, City Planning
○ Richard King, Southbridge Civic Association, President
Consultant Team
○ Zakcq Lockrem, Principal-in-Charge
○ Mayu Takeda, Project Manager
○ Jessica Williams, Deputy Project Manager

○ Welcome and Intros
○ Project Foundations
○ Wellness for Southbridge
○ Prior Plans and Initial Findings
○ Your Voice
○ Next Steps

Click HERE to view the Steering Committee Meeting #1 slides

Steering Committee members and the Consultant Team introduced themselves and kicked off the call by sharing one or two words that describe Southbridge. Words used to describe Southbridge include family, connected, invested stakeholders, unique, and strong community ties.

Project Foundations
Steering Committee members and the Consultant Team reviewed the project timeline, Steering Committee roles and expectations, Civic Leader compensation, and adding additional members to the Steering Committee. The group confirmed that they have both a renter and a youth representative from the community who are interested in joining the Steering Committee.

Prior Plans and Initial Findings
The Consultant Team reviewed prior plans for the neighborhood, including the 2018 Wilmington Comprehensive Plan, 2006 Southbridge Neighborhood Plan, riverfront plans and implications for Southbridge, and planning for the Wetlands Park. The Steering Committee also shared questions from the Route 9 Survey to incorporate into the Neighborhood Plan survey. The Consultant Team also shared summaries and key themes from in the Steering Committee Member interviews. Common interview themes include:
● People love that Southbridge has a strong sense of community and identity
● Great existing neighborhood assets

The biggest challenges facing Southbridge include:
● Rising sea level and flooding
● Getting everyone to the table and on the same page
● Perceptions of crime

The Consultant Team identified the following top priorities from the interviews:
● Equitable development of and access to the riverfront and Wetland Park
● Stable and low rents; access to homeownership
● Economic development — locally owned small business/entrepreneurship
● Walkable access to amenities, especially the grocery store

The Consultant Team also shared data findings on race, income, housing affordability, employment opportunities, and access to nearby amenities. The Team highlighted that the data may be skewed because Christina Landing is grouped with Southbridge when using Census Data. The Consultant Team also shared potential recommendations to consider for the next stage of the project. These recommendations include:
● Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs)
● Inclusionary zoning
● Entrepreneurship opportunities
● Ways to assess accessibility (walking, biking, driving, and public transit).

Wellness for Southbridge
The Consultant Team discussed connections between the Neighborhood Plan and Wellness, including:
● Planning goal to improve health and wellness
● COVID-19 and exposure of health inequities
● Leveraging the Neighborhood Plan to strengthen the foundation of wellness

Your Voice
Steering Committee members and the Consultant Team discussed
● Additional things that need to be highlighted in the Neighborhood Plan
● Things that the Consultant Team may have missed in the first round of data analysis
● Things the Steering Committee are most excited to get done

Things that the Consultant Team may have missed include
● The history of brownfields and industrial sites throughout the neighborhood
● The new Comprehensive Plan for New Castle (still developing)
● Connections between Southbridge and other parts of Wilmington
● Adding additional priorities for land use/underutilized land and flooding/resilience to
climate change

Steering Committee members are excited for
● The Wetlands Park
● Connectivity between communities
● More equitable development

Next Steps
The Consultant Team shared updates on next steps, including:
● Existing Conditions Report (late Jan/early Feb)
● Virtual Public Workshop 1 (Feb 16?)
● In-Person Site Visits (Feb/Mar)
● Steering Committee Meeting 2 (Feb/Mar)
● Community Survey 1 (Feb-Mar)

About SWPN

Formed in 2009, the South Wilmington Planning Network (SWPN) is a collaborative partnership of residents and dozens of government, non-profit, and private agencies who work together to improve the quality of life in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware.
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  1. Pingback: Steering Committee Summary | SWPN

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