The turn-around of a Wilmington neighborhood filled with vacant homes and violence started yesterday with the demolition of two long unoccupied row homes. The houses at 50 and 52 E 22nd Street were demolished to make way for affordable housing for first-time home owners.
Community leaders gathered at the site on Monday to view the demolition and to applaud the efforts of the Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank (WNCLB) and Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.
The WNCLB, which assumed ownership of the two properties, was established in 2015 to return vacant, dilapidated, and abandoned properties to productive use and spur economic development. WNCLB has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to bring their first major project to fruition. The lots at 50 and 52 22nd Street plus neighboring vacant lots will make way for six new homes.
City Council President Hanifa Shabazz, who attended the kick-off of the demolition project, expressed her hope that many more neighborhoods will benefit from the revitalization effort. She said the WNCLB is the key to running the city around.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki said, “By working together, we can transform vacant and blighted properties like these into affordable housing, community gardens, and new development. Our goal is a more vibrant and livable city, which we will achieve by addressing vacant and abandoned properties.”