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  • Green for the Greater Good

2023 in Review, Thank Yous, a Memorial, and What's Ahead in 2024!


In this e-Newsletter we kick off the new year with a look back at what we accomplished together in 2023 and an expression of gratitude to some of the people and organizations that have contributed to this work. May we take inspiration from our successes and this collective generosity and engagement as we gear up for the work that still lies ahead! We also take a moment to remember our friend and neighbor Joe Co who passed away in October. May his memory be an inspiration to us all.


WHO WE ARE: Green for the Greater Good is a group of neighbors working to keep the Rodney Reservoir safe, public and green so all residents can enjoy its use. Let’s all work together to make sure our community’s health is protected and the Rodney Reservoir becomes a park.


1. A Look Back at 2023

We accomplished all of this!!!

  • Last winter we partnered with Cornerstone West CDC to apply for and were awarded  grant funds from DNREC to hire landscape architects to facilitate a community design process 

  • In winter and spring we raised our voices together, asking the City to engage residents in a visioning and design process and to secure funding to build the future Rodney Reservoir Park before demolition begins. We made presentations and public comment before City Council, published an op ed, and sent more than 800 letters to our elected leaders! 

  • In May, Mayor Purzycki appointed a Rodney Reservoir Advisory Committee made up of residents and City officials to work together and engage residents to design and plan a park– something we had advocated for since June 2022!

  • In March and April we hosted a Rodney Reservoir Visioning webinar series with special guests Dr. Riue Melvina Brown, Shweta Arya and Dr. Sue Barton, as well as community members.

  • In May we celebrated our partnership with Lewis Dual Language Elementary and  Healthy Foods for Health Kids with a ribbon cutting one year into their school gardening program at the Rodney Reservoir Community Garden. Read more about it here and here and check out the gallery. We are so inspired about the potential for the Rodney Reservoir to serve as a public, outdoor classroom for area youth and students of all ages!

  • In June we partnered with Professor Anna Wik and Dr. Nina David from the UD Living Lab Research Group and students of the Landscape Architecture program to conduct three Community Design Sessions with funding from the Wilmington Partnership. More than 80 residents and stakeholders participated and came up with a vision for a nature- and community- focused park and high-level design concepts for what it could look like.

  • In summer, we hosted Free Farm Stand events in the Rodney Reservoir Community Garden on Thursday nights. We shared vegetables straight from the garden, and neighbors came together to explore and enjoy the space. There was even a cookout! It was amazing to enjoy the space, spend time with neighbors who have memories of the place and hadn’t been up in years and to meet more local residents who are interested in gardening and spending time in nature. 

  • In late July, the Rodney Reservoir Advisory Committee met for the first time. Resident members successfully lobbied for and contributed to an open Request for Proposal (RFP) process to hire a firm to conduct Community Design events to ensure robust resident involvement in the next steps of planning for an amazing public  park at the Rodney Reservoir. The RFP attracted truly inspiring proposals, and the City hired Hinge Collective for this work. The first set of public workshops were a great success, moving the vision forward and bringing more than 60 residents into the process.  Stay tuned for more events this winter!

  • Our partnership with the University of Delaware continued in the fall as Students of a Landscape Architecture Urban Design Studio course led by Professor Anna Wik developed creative designs that build on what community members said was important to them at the Charrette in June. Read more about this exciting work and stay tuned for opportunities to learn more about the ideas students came up with and learnings we can apply to our process going forward.

  • We have also been engaged in the tough work of learning about potential environmental hazards and health risks that the City’s proposed demolition plan could pose to the community. We appreciate all the neighbors who engaged in this conversation. Our letters motivated the City to do initial testing that found materials at the site that required DNREC oversight and further testing.  We had an amazingly strong showing at the Town Hall we hosted with DNREC in December.  As a result, there is a robust Environmental Work Monitoring Plan–including air monitoring–built into the bid package for the demolition contract.  We still have questions and concerns (more on that later), but the implementation of these measures and the City’s and DNREC’s responsiveness to our collective concerns is a victory for communities in Delaware.

  • Check out this great story in the News Journal that sums up the work we have done and highlights some of what there is still left to do.


2. Giving Thanks

It is risky to start thanking people for fear we will miss some key folks. Please hit us up with reminders and we will share more love. There is plenty of gratitude to go around!


We are so grateful and wish to thank…

Rev. Shada and everyone at the Church of the Holy City for hosting our weekly meetings

Professor Anna Wik, RLA, ASLA, and her students in UD’s Landscape Architecture Program

Dr. Nina David and her students in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at UD

The Wilmington Partnership

Franziska Becker, Artist

Dr. Riue Melvina Brown and Innersource Wellness Center

Shweta Arya and DE Interfaith Power & Light

Dr. Susan Barton, Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences at UD

Stacy Ferguson and everyone at St. Francis Hospital

Bob Shields and everyone at St. Anthony of Padua Grade School

Union Press Printing

Dr. Heather Townsend and everyone at Lewis Dual Language Elementary

Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids

Councilwoman, Dee Durham, Jill Gaumer and Green Drinks DE

Sarah Bucic

Brigid Gregory and Plastic Free Delaware

InterFaith Leaders

Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition

Marissa McClenton and the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club

Free Food for All

West Side Grows Together

Cornerstone West CDC

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Community Affairs

State legislators Sen. Tizzy Lockman, Sen. Sarah McBride, Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker

Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and her team

CSTNA and Little Italy Neighborhood Associations

City Council’s Public Works & Transportation Committee

City Council’s Community Development and Urban Planning Committee

Wilmington City Council

Mayor Purzycki

The City of Wilmington

Hinge Collective 

The Rodney Reservoir Advisory Committee

All you neighbors especially the Saturday morning stalwarts of Green for the Greater Good <3 


3. In Memoriam

We also want to take the time to honor our dear friend Joe Cofrancesco who was a cherished neighbor of so many and a leader of our work around the Rodney Reservoir. Joe passed away in October. We miss him dearly and honor his memory by being neighborly and working to make our neighborhood better for the sake of each other and those who come after us.  

  


4. Events Coming Soon!

This is a quick list of events ahead, stay tuned for more of what’s in store for 2024!!

  • Join Green for the Greater Good at the Urban Ag Session organized by Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition, Thursday, January 11th, 5-8PM at the Delaware Center for Horticulture at 1810 N. Dupont Street. Registration is required for this free event. Stay tuned for more on this event!

  • Public Workshop for the Rodney Reservoir design and planning process continue. Stay tuned for dates/times/locations and ways to get involved!


5. What’s Ahead

As we move into the new year we will continue to advocate for our community’s concerns around the City’s plan for demolition:

  • Asking DNREC to require the City of Wilmington to sign a deed restriction before demolition that precludes future residential use of the Rodney Reservoir site.

  • Asking DNREC to require the City of Wilmington to implement a site-specific Contaminated Materials Management Plan so that contaminated materials are identified and dealt with carefully during demolition.

  • The City has published an Air Monitoring Plan.  We need to ensure that it is clearly defined and implemented to protect nearby residents and should monitor for particulate matter and the hazardous substances that have been identified as present at the Rodney Reservoir, including cobalt and other chemicals; include provisions for communicating data to residents; and include DNREC oversight and enforcement measures.


We also need to continue to engage in the City’s design, planning and budgeting processes to ensure the Rodney Reservoir becomes an amazing nature- and community-focused park that all can access and enjoy.


Here’s to the work ahead!


GET MORE INVOLVED

We need to work together to make sure our neighborhood is heard and the city works with us on the future of the Rodney Reservoir! Here are some more ways you can help:


Follow Green for the Greater Good on Facebook and Instagram @GreenfortheGreaterGood

Share posts on your own social media.

Visit the website for the latest news.

Join weekly Saturday meetings at 10 AM at the Church of The Holy City at 1118 N. Broom Street. Enter to the right of the main door and enter through the side door. 

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