One of our most popular stories this week came out of a press release issued by the City of New Castle.
It was announced that the United States Post Office will allow residents to have their mail addressed to Historic New Castle.
Next up is convincing one enforcement agency to stop listing the sprawling New Castle area in crime reports. The City of New Castle has about 5,000 residents and its own police department.
Old New Castle, as some call it, is a gem of a town. Unlike Historic Williamsburg, it is not a facsimile of a colonial town. It is not hard to picture townfolk in days past making their way to shops and taverns.
The profile of the city was raised when a couple of its buildings became a part of Delaware’s unique national park that takes in multiple historic and scenic sites.
That historic area actually accounts for only a portion of New Castle city, which now includes the Farmers Market area as well as a mixture of housing types and income levels.
At issue is Delaware State Police using zip codes to identify locations in their press release datelines and headlines.
The issue arose as the Delaware State Police made its press releases more accessible.
Prior to that time, reporters learned the nuances of place names amid the sprawl of New Castle County. It wasn’t always easy when it came to areas that were outside city limits but were for all tints and purposes part of the town.
Sometimes, we just threw up our hands. when it came to areas like an of Philadelphia Pike that wasn’t part of Claymont, Wilmington or even Bellefonte.
We learned to use the term “near,” but were sometimes berated by readers.
Then came social media, with State Police posting their releases on Facebook or their website.
The issue for New Castle city officials is the surrounding 19720 zip code.
Sometimes known as “The Castle,” the sprawling area that extends from the outskirts of Wilmington has a mixture of moderate and low-income neighborhoods as well as some seedy areas along DuPont Highway.
The area generates a lot of press releases, mostly traffic accidents but also has its share of robberies and shootings.
The good people of New Castle see this as a blot on their city and have asked for some relief.
Whether that will happen remains unclear.
State Police have jurisdiction over a large chunk of Delaware and issue a lot of press releases. Identifying specific areas up and down the state to the community level would be a chore.
In the pandemic year of 2020, there are bigger issues.
Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and stay safe. This newsletter returns on Tuesday. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.