Department of Transportation has applied for a grant of slightly
more than $100,000 under a new federal program to improve
pedestrian access from Philadelphia Pike to the commuter train
station. The program is part of a U.S. Department of
Transportation effort to promote alternatives to highway
Lossť, president of the Claymont Coalition, described the
relatively small project as a kind of demonstration to show what
can happen as the result of a directed effort and, in effect,
to an ambitious multi-year plan to totally transform
is not something that's going to happen overnight. It's
going to take five to 10 years and maybe longer. You
can't fix everything at once; it's going to have to be
done in steps," he told Delaforum.
movement, dubbed 'Claymont Renaissance', began last
summer as a joint proposal by the coalition and the
Claymont Business Owners Association to spruce up
Philadelphia Pike and make it a 'destination' for
movers for Claymont Renaissance are (from the left)
George Lossť, Dawn Lamb and Martha Sheik.
By doing so, the organizations reasoned, they could establish a
new 'image' for the area.
and Dawn Lamb, president of the business group, say that is
still envisioned as the initial thrust, Renaissance has taken on
a more encompassing mantle. "We see it touching every part
of Claymont, which is really a collection of neighborhoods and
little villages," Lamb said.
added as a third prime mover is the Claymont Historical Society,
whose president, Martha Sheik, said the historic component
provides a unifying theme. "We can draw on our past while
being far-sighted enough to improve what we have now for the
future," she said.
is defined as the 19703 postal zip code. The Claymont Post
Office serves an area between Perkins Run, north of Holly Oak,
to the Pennsylvania state line and between the Delaware River
and the C.S.X. Railroad tracks and Interstate 95. Included are a
variety of communities ranging from the former industrial
'company towns' of Knollwood and Aniline Village to suburban
Ashbourne Hills and Radnor Green.
credited New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner with imbuing
Renaissance with the political savvy needed to secure the
governmental backing required as a practical matter to fuel its
efforts. "He's brought [the proposal] the enthusiasm and
support we need to get it off the ground and sustain it," Lossť
part, Weiner told Delaforum that he regards Claymont as
"the perfect prototype model" for the kind of
urban redevelopment that is beginning to take hold around the
nation. From his perspective as land-use chairman for the
National Association of Counties, Weiner he said that
Renaissance should become a good illustration for "economic
reinvestment in existing communities that have underutilized
infrastructure." It is comparable, he said, to what has
happened to transform Ridge
Avenue through the Manayunk section of Philadelphia into a
trendy tourist, entertainment and shopping 'destination'.
am diligently and passionately committed to see that Claymont
succeeds in bringing about a revitalization," Weiner said.
reported by Delaforum, New Castle County has provided $25,000,
with which the Renaissance group has hired West Chester,
Pa.-based Thomas Comitta Associates to produce a long-range
community development plan. Coincidentally or otherwise, Comitta
was the planner on the Manayunk project.
Claymont plan will be based largely on what comes out of
two sets of community meetings in late March and early April,
which have been being called as a 'visioning process'.
going to ask 'stakeholders' representing every aspect of the
community to come out and tell us what they'd like to see
Claymont become. They are going to have a big say in what
happens," Lossť said.
unlikely that there will be a decision on the bid for the Myrtle
Avenue sidewalks grant before the meetings, but Lossť
said that is not a critical point. Weiner said that Claymont is,
in a sense, in competition with Dover and Odessa, which also
have applied for grants under the Transportation and Community
and System Preservation Program. It is questionable whether
Delaware would receive money for three projects in the same
last year received $100,000 from the program, which is evolving
into development of a master plan for that community. Like
Centreville, Claymont is unincorporated. Both are considered
primary areas for inclusion in a new 'home town' land-use
arrangement being drafted for New Castle County.