If you’re community-minded and looking to settle in Wilmington, try Midtown Brandywine.
The neighborhood’s charm isn’t limited to its beautiful architecture (several homes are more than 100 years old). It also boasts a thriving and active community whose members work, eat and party together. They participate in a book club, hold chili cooking competitions and host progressive dinners.
This classic neighborhood stretches from 12th & Washington streets to 14th & Orange streets, and ends at the Brandywine Creek. The area is composed of more than 200 homes and is a healthy mix of first-time homebuyers, established residents and growing families.
Lyn Doto has lived in the area for more than 30 years and enjoys the strong sense of community that the neighborhood provides.
“Since my husband and I moved here in the early 1970s, we’ve met many unique people whom we now consider our closest friends,” Doto says. “If you have an interest, chances are that we can accommodate you.”
Doto says several events bring the Midtown Brandywine community together. There’s the chili cook-off on Super Bowl Sunday, which is a chance for aspiring chefs to rank their recipes against the competition. In the spring the neighborhood hosts a progressive dinner that gives residents a chance to socialize and admire their neighbors’ homes.
Midtown Brandywine Neighbors Association president Dan Walsh enjoys the neighborhood’s monthly movie night.
“It’s one of my favorite events,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity for kids and adults to get together.”
Movie night, now in its third year, occurs in the neighborhood common area May through September. The event usually draws more than 50 people, and residents share food and ideas while watching great movies such as “Despicable Me” and “Kung Fu Panda.”
As president of the Neighbors Association, Walsh’s responsibilities go beyond event planning. A Midtown Brandywine resident since 2005, he insists the largest part of his job is relationship building.
“Whether it’s with community members or Wilmington utility companies, forming and maintaining relationships is crucial,” he says. “It’s rare for city residents to know who to turn to when they see potholes or cluttered sidewalks. I need to be able to contact the proper people and acquire their assistance. Rather than becoming frustrated, I encourage our neighbors to reach out to me and I will be their advocate.”
As a result of being members of an active and structured city neighborhood, Walsh says that Midtown Brandywine residents have been more closely listened to by Wilmington officials. He credits the positive image Midtown Brandywine residents have cultivated. “Our mission is simple–get involved,” he says. “You can go any day of the week to Wilmington restaurants such as Chelsea Tavern or Mikimotos and see Midtowners eating there. We try to support our local businesses and I think we do a pretty good job.”
In 2010, this community involvement earned Midtown Brandywine the Best Wilmington Neighborhood award from the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation.
“Wilmington has come a long way in the time I’ve lived here and Midtown is participating in that progress,” Walsh says. “The award is special because it shows the type of community we’ve fostered and it’s one that I’m proud to live in.”