Great potential, but heading the wrong way. - 7/12/2007
I am a transplant, having lived for 18 years in NJ, 9 in OR, and 4 in PA. I live in New Castle County, in Newark. It is a cozy little college town and I was initially attracted to Main Street in Newark for its charm and small-town feel. And the neighborhood I moved to (just outside the U of D) reminds me of the suburb in NJ that I grew up in, as it was then, not overpopulated and overdeveloped the way it is now. Unfortunately, Delaware seems to be trying to do its very best to follow in New Jersey's footsteps and ruin quality of life with uncontrolled development. It is possible for a city/state/county to responsibly plan for future economic prosperity by working hard to attract prosperous employers, plan urban development, preserve historic sites and neighborhoods, and protect wildlife and natural areas. Instead, Delaware is letting real estate developers plow fields and churn out hastily constructed new housing, the public school system is looked down on by most residents, old buildings get bulldozed in favor of condos, and the Dunkin Dounts franchise is just out of control. There's a big box retailer with the usual accompanying chains every few miles and more being built every year.
The few things that Delaware could claim as a bonus, are dissapearing. MBNA has been merged. DuPont is downsizing. The idyllic South-of-the-Canal area is now a mish-mash of overpriced housing, new developments levelling more and more of the beautiful green fields, with a crumbling and neglected downtown Middletown and a newly built high school that is already so overcrowded that an additional high school had to be built. I've often thought that the area of 299 running through Middletown had real possibility for a charming downtown - antique shops, beautiful but rickety houses, and a little theater. But obviously the township doesn't think so. The sidewalks are in such disrepair that you can't bike or push a stroller down the street, the streets are a spiderweb of patched blacktop, there's a thriving illegal drug market, and small businesses come and go quickly. Nothing can compete with the ginormous shopping complexes a mile away that are like their own city. And the newest accomplishment? A Wal-Mart! Well, hoo-ray!
My husband, who was born and raised here, wants to move away. He wants a better place to raise our son. I am willing to stay here so we can be near my son's grandparents, but it's pretty obvious that there are better places to be. It's r[read more...]