Program lights up the west side of Wilmington in quality of life, crime-fighting effort

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West Side Grows Together and the HELP Initiative have partnered to launch Lights On, Wilmington Strong, a pilot program to increase residential security and public safety in the city.

As part of the program, 25 local businesses along the Fourth Street corridor will receive up to $1,800 to install security cameras and additional lighting from Union Street to Jackson Street.

Working with city government, the Wilmington Police Department, community organizations, local leaders and residents, West Side Grows Together has identified 500 residents that will receive energy-efficient Dusk to Dawn LED lights for the front porches and solar-powered LED motion-sensor floodlights for the backyards/vacant lots in an area that has consistently had higher incidents of crime and poorly lit streets.

Lights On, Wilmington Strong approach requests that participants sign a pledge that they will keep their lights on and will call in suspicious activity to the police. This campaign will also provide education on reducing the energy burden in the home and assist with a roadmap for improving the health of its occupants.

Phase I of Lights On, Wilmington Strong focuses on the streets bordering Judy Johnson Park, in the West Side, an area that stretches from 5th Street to Chestnut Street, and Lincoln Street to Jackson Street.

This area includes 715 building units, 122 vacant properties, and includes a large portion of the commercial Fourth Street area.

A gateway to the West Side neighborhoods and Wilmington’s downtown, Fourth Street is a focus of West Side Grows Together.

Lights On, Wilmington Strong officially launched in September. Via a door to door volunteer effort, 300 properties have already received lighting measures. Residents and local law enforcement have taken notice and are reporting brighter streets.

Pastor Calvin Brown, of New Life Christian Center at 3rd & Clayton Streets, “The Lights On project has already paid big dividends. We had a problem in the rear of the church with trespassers, since the installation of the motion lights, we have eliminated the problem.”

Partners included Christiana Care, Energize Delaware, the City of Wilmington, the Neighborhood Building Blocks Fund, Delmarva Power, Be Ready CDC, New Life Christian Center, Wilmington Police Department, Wilmington Housing Authority, Wilmington Neighborhood Conservancy Land Bank, State Rep. Sherry Dorsey Walker, State Sen. Eizabeth Lockman, the Energy Coordinating Agency, West Side Community Action, and the West Side Grows Together Steering Committee.

Lights On, Wilmington Strong is facilitated by Cornerstone West CDC and the HELP Initiative. Cornerstone West CDC serves as the backbone organization for West Side Grows Together, a coalition established to promote the revitalization of Wilmington’s West Side led by West Side residents, neighborhood associations, businesses, neighborhood planning councils, and institutions.

The HELP Initiative Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Dover that specializes in energy efficiency programs and service offerings for statewide communities in need. The HELP Initiative also implemented the Lights On program in Dover, Seaford, Milford and Laurel.

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