Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Delaware Governor John Carney and the Rodney Square Conservancy today announced the start of a $6 to 8 million dollar renovation of Wilmington’s main public square—Rodney Square—which was originally constructed in 1921. The Mayor and Governor said the City’s largest public square has suffered in recent years from deferred maintenance and is in need of a major aesthetic and infrastructure overhaul.
“It’s time to restore this grand public square to not only its original glory, but to go beyond that vision to one that will improve the square and allow its upkeep to be more manageable while making the square itself more beautiful, attractive and useful,” said Mayor Purzycki. “The City is very grateful to be able to support the efforts of the Rodney Square Conservancy, which in 2016 set itself on a course to remodel and improve the square. These efforts are now underway with government and private support. It is a partnership that will revitalize and preserve historic Rodney Square for the entire community and for future generations.”
“I’ve called the City of Wilmington home for 30 years, and it’s clear that the success of our largest city is directly linked to our success as a state,” said Governor Carney. “This is an investment in the center of Wilmington to revitalize Rodney Square, attract new jobs and business to our city, and give all Wilmington families more options to get outside and enjoy everything our city has to offer. Across Wilmington, we’re making investments in neighborhoods, in city schools, and critical infrastructure to help make sure that all Wilmington residents see and feel the benefits of Wilmington’s success. We’re pleased to support this effort.”
The multiple-year, two-phased public and privately-funded renovation project will include new masonry and paving, improved irrigation systems, upgraded lights and electrical system, lighted fountains, planters, benches and tables, trash and recycling collection bins, as well as new trees, shrubs and green areas. The new square is also being designed to accommodate a wider range of smaller community events in addition to the more traditional larger events staged at the square. Improved accessibility to the square and more community-based activities are the primary goals of the renovation project.
Today’s announcement includes renderings of the future Rodney Square so citizens have a better understanding of the improvements that are planned, as well as the following link to a video rendering of what is planned for the new Rodney Square: http://bit.ly/TheNEWRodneySquare
Current and committed financial support for the estimated $4 million cost of phase one of the Rodney Square project is being provided by the City of Wilmington ($1.5 million) and State of Delaware ($1.8 million), as well as by Bank of America, Chemours, M&T Bank, the Wilmington Library, the law firm of Young, Conaway, Stargatt and Taylor, the law firm of Richards, Layton and Finger, the Buccini Pollin Group and by members of the Rodney Square Conservancy Board of Directors.
The Rodney Square Conservancy has retained the services of two landscape architectural firms—Robinson, Anderson, Summers, Inc., and OLIN—to complete a revitalization study of Rodney Square. The renovation project is expected to break ground within the next month. Phase one is expected to be completed in early 2020. Fundraising by the Conservancy continues in order to support phase two of the project. As for two of the more well-known Rodney Square events for this summer, the Mayor said the 2019 Clifford Brown Jazz Festival will be held in the square as planned in June during a construction hiatus, but the Farmers Market on Wednesday’s will be relocated to Market Street between 10th and 11th Streets.
Governor Carney and Mayor Purzycki today thanked the companies and organizations that have already contributed to the refurbishing of Rodney Square and urged other local businesses to consider becoming part of this much-needed effort to increase the opportunity for more community activities and access to the City’s main public square.
Rodney Square was one of the first models of the City Beautiful Movement of the early 20th century, which espoused improving the social order of the day by introducing more beauty into the urban landscape. In 2011, Rodney Square, the Caesar Rodney equestrian statue and the Nemours Building were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Source: Mayors Office