Last Wednesday evening, surrounded by family, friends and nearly six hundred ardent supporters, Michael S. Purzycki, the long-time Executive Director of the Riverfront Development Corporation and the former Chairman of the Wilmington Hope Commission, officially kicked-off his campaign for the Office of Mayor of the City of Wilmington.
I was at the event and was pleased to see the massive crowd, not just because I support Mike, but because as someone who cares deeply about the city, I know how important this race is, and I am delighted that so many others are actively engaged in the election.
Mike’s record of achievement is well known to many, but his accomplishments bear some repeating: As the Executive Director of the Riverfront Development Corporation for the past twenty years, Mike has overseen the massive transformation of a once unused industrial wasteland into a thriving and successful corporate and entertainment destination. Throughout his tenure, he has been involved in the planning, acquisition of land, and development of more than $900 million of public and private investment, bringing more than 6,000 jobs into the city and $30 million in annual revenue to the state.
As Chairman of the Hope Commission, Mike oversaw the creation of the Achievement Center, a one-of-a-kind collaborative program designed to reduce crime and violence by assisting ex-offenders successfully reintegrate into society.
Mike understands that the key to a thriving city lies in the health and stability of her neighborhoods.
Below are some excepts from his speech the other night. After hearing it in person, I am even more convinced that Mike is the only man for the job.
Our beloved city faces many challenges including a proliferation of gun violence, an eroding employment base, aging infrastructure, fragile property values. The challenges are clear. We need solutions.
The people that are running for Mayor are good people, and they are my friends. But it strains credibility that we will get new solutions from the same people who have been serving Wilmington in government for decades. We suffer from a lack of confidence in our government because of a lack of competence in its leadership.
Our resident’s rights are threatened — The right to clean and well-maintained streets and public areas. The right of neighborhoods to be free of slums and blight. The rights of our children to play in clean well maintained parks with playgrounds in good repair that say to our children: We value you and we love you.
And there is no more fundamental right than the right to be safe and secure in one’s home and neighborhood.
For too long we have simply cursed the darkness and now we realize that the problems are too great for these communities to fix themselves. It is our charge to help our neighbors to build capacity in their lives, to find work, to keep children in school and bring resources to bear in a strategic way that works.
My commitment is to structure a city government that is transparent, accessible and responsive. I commit to being a collaborative and inclusive leader committed to Wilmington’s neighborhoods and its citizens. Together we will attack the root causes of crime, grow our city, create expanded job opportunities and restore confidence in our government.