Photo Album

Government area has a new look

The makeover of Freedom Plaza and construction of a new entrance to and lobby in the Redding Building are nearly finished.

The plaza, in the 800 block of French Street in downtown Wilmington, is between the building, which houses Wilmington city and New Castle County government offices, and the Carvel state government office building. It actually is the roof of a parking garage operated by the Wilmington Parking Authority.

Rebuilding the plaza, at a cost of about $4 million, came about because if leaks in the roof, which were threatening the structural soundness of the building. The state put up half of the cost and the city and county shared the rest.

The related work at the jointly-owned Redding Building was a $1 million project, of which 55% was financed by county government and 45% by the city.

All of the money was authorized in the respective capital budgets and financed by the sale of long-term bonds.

A yet-to-be-completed feature of the Redding lobby will be a display commemorating the life and achievements of the man for whom the building is named. Louis Redding was the first black lawyer admitted to practice in Delaware -- during the 1920s. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he was lead attorney in Court of Chancery suits which resulted in racial integration of the University of Delaware and Delaware public schools. The latter case was one of five ultimately decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case 50 yers ago.

Centerpiece of the display will be a life-size sculpture depicting Redding and two school children, which was executed by artist Charles Parks and previously stood outside the building.

Here is a brief Delaforum photo tour:

The Redding Building, which has housed Wilmington and New Castle County government offices since 1976, has a new entranceway (above). It comes complete with an automated revolving door which connects to the new lobby (below).