Jumpstart Wilmington Program Wins Seven West Center City Properties

Long abandoned properties in West Center City have just landed in new hands.

The Wilmington City Council has approved a measurement Thursday awarding seven city plots to graduates of a new developer training program taking shape in the city: Start Wilmington.

“It was a no-brainer,” Councilwoman Bregetta Fields, sponsor of the ordinance, said before the vote. “We have these properties here. They are not being used. Day and day goes by, and nothing is done for Why not give these developers the opportunity to really show other people, the community – to be a poster for the Jumpstart program?”

Jumpstart Wilmington – sharing its name with the original Start Germantown program in Philadelphia – officially took root in Delaware in the fall of 2020, aimed at training local, hobbyist or aspiring developers to revitalize communities in their own city. It offers training sessions, mentorships, and funding options across multiple cohorts each year. About 70 people have graduated to date.

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“The program was brought here out of need, plain and simple,” Dionna Sargent told USA TODAY Network earlier this summer. their own community. »

Classes started in October 2020. Four sessions, 14 hours in total. The first round of applications alone attracted more than 100 applicants, filling the first four cohorts and leaving Sargent to manage a waiting list. The 2022 promotions are already complete.

Passed unanimously, Thursday’s order marked the first part of a pilot property acquisition program. The seven plots in West Center City, from West 4th to West 8th streets, will join five others heading towards Jumpstart Wilmington, according to Sargent, vice president of community development at Cinnaire. Each property is planned to provide affordable housing after development.

Sargent said graduates are already lined up to acquire the dozen plots.

“I promise you, not everyone can do this,” said Chris Pitt, a developer at Pitt Pass who audited Jumpstart Wilmington in 2021. “When you have good people trying to do this job, you should really want to support them.”

Earlier in the week, Bob Weir, director of real estate and housing in Wilmington, told the city council’s finance and economic development committee that he hopes the framework proposed in the ordinance will only extend to other neighborhoods. Fields is optimistic it can help breathe new life into his district.

“They’re going to be able to produce these properties developed for the black and brown community because they’re coming back to the communities they grew up in or lived in,” the adviser said.

“I’m just very happy that they started here.”

So what is Jumpstart? Subscribe to learn more and listen to graduates: Why This Developer Training Program Wants To Put Wilmington Homes In Local Hands

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