From the Editor: On Community

Developers create new neighborhoods all the time. Can they create an ethic?

It’s a question writer Larry Nagengast explores thoroughly inRedefining Community,the story behind the Town of Whitehall. As you’ll read, a consortium of local builders and developers has broken ground outside Middletown on what will become 3,800 homes of all kinds clustered in seven villages on 900 acres, with each group offering business and work spaces, open commons and community buildings. The intention: Young and old will mix amiably in the parks, at the coffee shop and in the workplace, and the result will be a common bond, a culture or spirit, that once characterized the most cohesive and successful neighborhoods.

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As you’ll read in the Great Small Towns package, that ethic is alive and well across the state in places like Lewes—where the historical society works hard to make the past a vital part of the present and where residents and council plan public celebrations for the big holidays—and in places like Arden, where the utopian ideals of a century ago live on as the oldest single-tax community in the county, with residents who are still committed to a founding principle of creative living. The diversity of communities and a common ethic, for all its variations, are a large part of our strength as a state—a point driven home every time someone describes Delaware itself as a small town.

Of course, a community is made of people, so to those who may be unacquainted, we introduce Ricky “Mouse” Smith, president of the Delaware NAACP (The Mouse That Roars). Smith has spent his life in service of African-Americans and marginalized people of all kinds. At a time of peak frustration among African-Americans across the country, Smith has a more prominent platform than ever. As you will read in Kevin Noonan’s profile, he is taking full advantage of it. We applaud his work.

Along those lines, meet the very warm, very funny Fay Jacobs. You may have known her as the former director of Rehoboth Main Street or as a humor writer. Others know Fay as an activist for the LGBT community, though she never considered herself as such until a newspaper described her as one. “I liked it because it occurred to me that it was true,” Jacobs says in writer Pam George’s storyFifty Shades of Fay.” Her one-woman show, coming soon to a beach town near you, explains her tribulations and triumphs as a member of that community in a way that anyone can relate to. Her humor and wit broadens identification with the LGBT among gay and straight alike. 

We could continue the theme, applying the concept of community to a brief item about the Sanford School family rallying to recover from a calamity, about those who gather to socialize in places like the new Tonic Bar and Grille and, most of all, in our annual Kent County Guide, which explains how the business and development community has injected new life into local commerce, how Ed Ide has renovated the historic heart of Smyrna, and how a community of artists finds Dover to be a great place to live and work. 

Community is what makes Delaware great.

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—Mark Nardone​

Correction: In When Delaware Went to the Super Bowl (February), it should have been stated that the Dallas Cowboys defense had given up the eighth fewest yards in the league, not no yards, as printed. The error was not the writer’s.

Mark Nardone 

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