Steering Committee Meeting #2
March 01, 2021 | 6:00 – 7:30pm EST
○ Bill Swiatek
○ Cornelius Johnson
○ Daymon Bagwell
○ Dianna Dixon
○ Ella Edwards
○ Ellie Ezekiel
○ Haneef Salaam
○ Jen Adkins
○ Kate Dupont Phillips
○ Marie Reed
○ Rich King
○ Travis Smith Jr.
○ Zakcq Lockrem, Principal-in-Charge
○ Mayu Takeda, Project Manager
○ Jessica Williams, Deputy Project Manager
- Welcome and Intros
- Project updates
- Project timeline
- Existing Conditions Report findings
- Public Workshop 1 report back
- Southbridge Community Priorities Survey 1
- Break out groups
- Report back
Steering Committee members and the Consultant Team introduced themselves and kicked off the call by sharing one word to describe how they were feeling. Attendees shared that they were feeling excited, tired, fantastic, great/happy, terrific, energetic, hopeful, happy, optimistic, blessed. Specifically for the project, attendees were excited, energetic, hopeful, and optimistic.
The Consultant Team shared updates on the project timeline, Existing Conditions Report findings, and a report back on Public Workshop 1. Feedback from Steering Committee members on the Existing Conditions report findings and report back on Public Workshop 1 include:
- Improved Mobility: What are roads that industrial trucks are using?
- S. Claymont Street (going towards the Port)
- A Street and Christiana Avenue are supposed to be used as access points, but trucks usually use smaller streets in the neighborhood
- New Castle Avenue
- Gobert Tree Company is one of the companies using smaller street, rather than main access points
- Local entrepreneurship: What are challenges with (re)opening business in Southbridge?
- Reopening/redeveloping the Tavern:
- This was discussed at a Council meeting, but got tabled because homeowners that live near the tavern did not support new operating hours and the developer did not have the variance or business/financial plan ready.
- Another issue this discussion brought up was the challenge with historical businesses leaving Southbridge or closing down and not opening again.
- The Steering Committee also shared that young entrepreneurs have trouble trying to open businesses, particularly because of communication and differences in opinions within the community, and between community members and elected officials.
- Steering Committee members highlighted that Southbridge needs better opportunities for young entrepreneurs to be part of the conversation and positive change for the future of Southbridge.
- Reopening/redeveloping the Tavern:
- Resilience to Flooding and Sea Level Rise: What are action and implementation steps Southbridge can take?
- Steering Committee members shared that these processes have felt like they were “spinning the wheel” and that a lot of data is always shared with them, rather than key actionable steps.
- They want the updated Southbridge Neighborhood Plan to speak to implementation and key steps the community will need to take to see change
- Steering Committee members shared concerns about slow development processes. They expressed that the wetland park will not answer all of the flooding issues in Southbridge and would benefit residents at Christina Landing before it benefits some of the neighborhoods in Southbridge
- Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) and opportunities for youth: What requirements need to be in future CBAs to better benefit Southbridge residents?
- Steering Committee members shared that livable wage jobs and entrepreneurial efforts/opportunities for technical assistance should be included in CBAs for new businesses coming to the community
- CBAs should also prioritize youth in the community by offering job placement programming or internships
Southbridge Community Priorities Survey 1
The Project Team shared updates on Survey 1, including a tentative timeline, workplan, and budget.
Break out groups/Report back
The Project Team tabled the break out group discussions and agreed that they will take place at a later date, potentially at a March 2021 Steering Committee Meeting 3. The group also discussed the importance of having a representative from the Riverfront Development Corporation of Delaware (RDC) join Steering Committee Meeting 3 to discuss their Master Plan for South Market Street.