Many to thank for downtown tipping point

SONY DSCBy Martin P. Hagerman
Guest Columnist

I appreciate the recent article in the Delaware Business Times about the investments being made in Wilmington’s Central Business District.

Your headline referenced a tipping point — and I think that is a very appropriate description of what is happening in Downtown Wilmington. Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, refers to “that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

In the case of Downtown Wilmington, we’ve been approaching that tipping point at a quickly accelerating pace these past few years as several key pieces have fallen into place. We’re seeing renewed life Downtown, from exciting new retail shops and restaurants to entertainment venues to new residents moving in and calling Downtown their home.

I’m proud of the work being done by so many in this community to make the improvements we’re seeing.
At Downtown Visions, we’ve partnered with our local business community to improve the look and feel of Downtown with our Façade Improvement Program.

We’ve worked with entertainers, food truck operators, and local farmers to create a farmers market on Rodney Square.

We’ve worked with the Grand Opera House and World Café Live at the Queen to bring quality entertainment both in those great venues and on the streets.

We’ve worked with some of the employers in the city to make sure the men and women who work here know about all of the opportunities they have to engage with the community.

We’ve worked with our city and state government officials to improve safety Downtown through our video monitoring system and Safety Ambassadors.

But the great thing about a tipping point is how quickly everything grows and spreads. In addition to all of the ongoing events and programs listed above, we’re  busy planning more – more events, more concerts, more art, more beauty, and more partnerships.

We all benefit greatly from working with organizations like the Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Delaware Economic Development Office, Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, the IN Campaign, the city of Wilmington and all of its divisions, the Buccini/Pollin Group, the Creative Vision Factory, Gable Music Ventures, and others to create magic for all who live, work, and play in Downtown Wilmington.

What’s really impressive is seeing this great mix of data-driven science with mad-capped inspiration coming together to make so much of this happens. We have teams gathering and studying data on every business and every building in our Downtown area to implement best practices for those areas. Meanwhile, we have artists who come up with ideas for street festivals and events like Ignite

Wilmington, which sparks creativity and  gives people in Wilmington a sense of fun and community.

Yes, we are at a tipping point in Downtown Wilmington, and we have so many to thank for getting us to this point — I just hope everyone is ready for the exciting things coming to the area now!  ♦

Martin P. Hageman is executive director of Downtown Visions and can be contacted at [email protected]

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