WILMINGTON — “2020 was the year of perseverance,” said Mayor John Stanforth at the beginning of his State of the City address.
At Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting, Stanforth recapped the oddities of 2020, the accomplishments of city departments, and future plans for Wilmington during the address.
“Who would have predicted wearing a mask would become normal, or Zoom no longer a phrase from a comic book, but a new way to hold meetings,” he said. “Or the new dress code for meetings is a dress shirt or blouse with sweatpants and slippers. Who knows what changes in our lifestyle 2021 will bring?”
Among the project highlights from 2020, he noted the expansion of the landfill which will add “approximately another 30 years, keeping our disposal rates for our citizens low.” He credited its success to Landfill Superintendent Mike Crowe.
Stanforth highlighted Rick Schaffer’s promoted to Public Works Director, overseeing the Water Department, Wastewater Department, and the Stormwater Department which was established last year.
“Our water treatment plant is wrapping up the expansion and upgrades to meet the demands of water supply, the EPA, and the ever-evolving algal bloom,” said Stanforth. “These upgrades will also allow for fluoridation of our water. Director Schaffer will also be leading the team for our new wastewater treatment plant in 2021.”
In regards to expansions and upgrades, the Mayor highlighted City Administrator Marian Miller’s oversight of the completion of server upgrades, personal protective equipment distribution projects, and several office and building modification upgrades.
“With the combined efforts of the Auditor’s Office and the local Chamber of Commerce, (Miller) established a Small Business Grant Program, awarding over $130,000 in emergency grant funding, providing aid to nineteen Wilmington businesses,” Stanforth stated.
Maintenance and Repair Superintendent Jerry Runk and his department were noted for their “aggressive program to remove blight, honeysuckle, and homeless encampments” and their “invaluable success” in the residential street paving project in the southern part of the city.
When it came to safety, Stanforth highlighted the opportunity and need to expand safety services for the city. This included the new K9, Miko, added to the Wilmington Police Department and the bicycle unit patrol set to launch in the spring.
As for 2021, Stanforth said it was going to be an incredible year with “more projects than the city has even taken on.”
These include the Rombach Avenue project starting in the spring, safety improvements in the downtown area, the redesign of Mulberry Street, and the Davids Drive project.
“If 2020 can be as successful as it was despite a global pandemic, I look forward to sharing the successes of 2021 with all of you,” said Stanforth.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574