2021 Highlands Community Survey Results

Join Representative civic leaders and neighbors to discuss the statwe of our community on Wednesday, October 20 at 7pm via Zoom (link here).

Our goal with this HCA Community Survey is to provide Highlands’ neighbors, its Community Association and civic leaders insights on the community’s evolving needs and interests. 11% of 980 recipients responded to nine questions, and shared 85 specific, write-in comments, all below.


Respondent Age Range

  • 25-34 2%
  • 35-44 23%
  • 45-54 20%
  • 55-64 21%
  • 65+ 34%

Favorite Part of Neighborhood

  • Parks 25%
  • People 19%
  • Architecture 17%
  • Arts & Culture 16%
  • Dining & Nightlife 16%
  • Other 7%

Most Pressing Concerns for Neighborhood

  • Crime 21%
  • Traffic 20%
  • Development 18%
  • Community 14%
  • Climate 12%
  • Arts & Culture 10%
  • Other 5%

How Well Elected Officials Advocate for Neighborhood

  • Very Well 46%
  • Extremely Well 13%
  • Somewhat well 38%
  • Not so well 2%
  • Not well 2%

Specific Suggestions forElected Officials

  • Support for small businesses that preserve the uniqueness and charm of our locality.
  • Better and cheaper bus service. Drivers are great but I recently needed to visit my husband in Christiana Hospital, it was impossible to to get a convenient route there and back.
  • More frequent updates on the top issues in New Castle County and in Dover–even those in development.
  • Just leave us alone other than police protection
  • Any ideas to address/lessen cut through traffic; promote community events in Rockford and Brandywine parks
  • Deal with repeat door checkers. Advocate for sensible gun legislation.
  • The prevalence of petty crime, while obviously not as bad as other parts of town, needs more attention from the police. Cars are ransacked all the time.
  • Being aware of proposed building that may take place and speaking to all parties that may be impacted by the development.
  • There is very little information and a minimal feedback loop about what kinds of things are happy in city and state government and how they shape daily life in our community.
  • State and county officials should focus on needs specific to the issues in Wilmington. Police reform is important with need for closer relationship with people in neighborhoods throughout the city.
  • Send surveys or find ways to interact with people who may not be at meetings or don’t know how to contact officials
  • Make it friendlier for young families, including events, walkability, bikeability, accessibility, more investment in public schools. It would be a great area for young families who want to be close to downtown if it had more of a community feel.
  • Wilmington City property tax assessment
  • I would like to hear from the officials as to how they are advocating or our communities. Recently, if it weren’t for James Spadola, I would have no idea what is going on anywhere in the city or Dover that relates to our communities.
  • Establish a long range plan to address infrastructure needs (sidewalks, underground utilities, streets)
  • Better management of poverty in the City of Wilmington
  • Address the city wage tax burden. Get 19807 residents to assume a proportionate share of Wilmington tax burden.
  • I would love to see the nightly stealing from our cars and porches end
  • More advocating for increased police actively looking for porch pirates
  • Increased enforcement of speed limits on Delaware Avenue and Kentmere Parkway
  • Development and green space
  • Focus on development, this is the last safe, prosperous neighborhood left in Wilmington and it is being compromised.
  • status of enhancements said to be done at Stapler Park
  • Sidewalks need repaired and not at the individual homeowners expense. It’s dangerous to be out walking on the sidewalks in The Highlands. Also, there are several properties in varying states of disrepair, neglect, hoarding. These unkempt addresses affect property values and must be cleaned up.
  • Like to see more communication and updates – how do know how these officials are doing what they committed to
  • Require Trolley Square businesses to clean up trash in their area on ongoing basis). It is often unpleasant and an embarrassment to walk in the Trolley Square area. The City should implement tree planting program (follow for example Ithaca NY).
  • Take it all more seriously
  • More policing, more enforcement of parking regulations especially around the Art Museum.
  • I would like them to not bow to those that whine the most but rather do some research and then use this to make decisions.
  • We need more conservative values. Left wing politics are destroying our country. And covid, climate and parents aren’t a threat. Biden and his sheep are.
  • Todays elected officials do not represent all the people in the community. They only care about pushing a liberal narrative.
  • Continued updating local neighborhood information on current events through representatives on a weekly basis through email, social media, local TV if possible.
  • More attention to Highlands Elementary / public school system so that it is a good option for those living here or looking to move here with young children. Also, very specific, but would really like to hear what’s going on with re-opening the bridge into Alapocas Run park.
  • I’m extremely concerned about the lack of maintenance on mature trees in the neighborhood. Emails to the city about dead limbs and proximity to electrical wires go unanswered. And I am afraid nothing will be done until a human is harmed.
  • I ’d like to understand how property taxes are determined.
  • Our reps generally do a good job in Wilmington and Dover. Nathan Field and James Spadola have been fantastic additions to City Council and have done much in their short tenures to address the needs of the community.
  • Greater police presence to stop garage thefts. 2. Incentivize more businesses to move into the Trolley Square area.
  • Stop overdevelopment and ease traffic flow. There are too many stop signs making driving extremely tiring.
  • We only have two major problems, traffic and crime, and those are minor compared to everywhere else in the city. No. 4 and 5: we are lucky to live in the Highlands and enjoy its comforts. We don’t need to ask for anything more.
  • Pre-K through 8th grade quality public education in the neighborhood is a major concern. I would like to see our elected officials address this concern.
  • We’re very interested in hearing an update about the footbridge into Alapocas park from our neighborhood. We understand it has structural damage but the phone number on the sign did not take me to a representative with any information regarding 1) established scope of damage/work to repair 2) estimated start of repair 3) estimated time length of repair.
  • I would like to see an effort to help highlands elementary school reach higher educational standards and ratings.
  • Ensure no new commercial development that does not fit the spirit of the the area.
  • More city neighborhood feel including more restaurants and bars outside of Trolley Square
  • Protect our house district
  • Funding for improvements to local parks.

Top Three Local News Sources

  1. Highlands Newsletter & Website
  2. Next Door
  3. News Journal

How informative are Highlands Community Association newsletter and web site communications?

  • Extremely 14%
  • Very 46%
  • A moderate amount 30%
  • A little 8%
  • Not at all 3%

How is HCA doing at representing and advocating for our neighborhood’s needs and interests?

  • Extremely 15%
  • Very 46%
  • Somewhat well 36%
  • Not so well 2%
  • Not well at all 2%

How specifically could HCA improve?

  • The newsletter, seems like I don’t check my email like I used to.
  • Add a third meeting for more frequent updates
  • More regular updates of surveys like this one. Modify to fit the times
  • Further evaluation of closing road through Rockford park to vehicle traffic.
  • Get some camera surveillance and work with homeowners who have cameras to deter crime.
  • I’d like to see more attention to the crime issue 
  • A little more communication
  • Safety issues. Car and pedestrian on streets. Signs for one way and speed. Noise from FIT building trash collection.
  • That HCA would hopefully become involved when the possible development of 62 Rockford Rd occurs. This possible development will effect a number of smaller neighborhoods in the HCA area.
  • t may be doing an awesome job. Yet somehow, I have a sense that I’m missing most of what’s going on if it is! _Town Square DE_ (online) has some solid–if somewhat politically biased–local coverage.
  • Outreach to those who are not online, make sure everyone know the availability of HCA. I have had new neighbors ask about associations etc and always provide info but it would be nice to have HCA invite new owners and periodically connect with everyone through flyers or mailing
  • Better walkability – including sidewalks that are passable for strollers/wheelchairs. Reducing traffic speeds. Regular events that are well communicated.
  • Use the survey output to define key issues and advocacy plans to address needs. Coordinate with other community groups (IHB, etc.) for leverage on common areas of concern. “Other” for#3 is local and infrastructure (sidewalks, utilities and roads)
  • More representative of ALL Highlands residents.
  • survey entire neighborhood to ascertain levels of understanding of what development plans are going on and how they truly impact the neighborhood for the future
  • Continue with “live” helpful information and news that impacts our community. Thank you.
  • Focus and invest in issues that more broadly affect the community and not just those that impact select neighborhoods/areas. The Highlands is a community of varying streets and properties. There tends to be laser focus on development/activity that impacts niche areas: ie, Gibraltar, Brandywine River area construction. How about focusing on safety issues caused by Kentmere Parkway parking for DAM instead of using the parking lot? Every time there’s an event there, those of us in the immediate area are negatively impacted. Also, the City needs to enforce code in a consistent manner. If construction can’t start until 8am, start fining those who choose to disregard it say they didn’t know. Shut down projects that don’t abide by the ordinances and don’t look the other way for some. We are all paying taxes to live in this part of the city.
  • More of same – thank you!
  • Lobby for better policing and regulations around Art Museum events to mitigate noise and parking issues.
  • Plant more street trees, please.
  • I dont even know the web site of the Highlands. Get the word out so evetyone has it.
  • It’s okay as it is.
  • We need more conservative values to balance out the left wing lunacy and liberal highlands elitists to stop pushing the Scamdemic and hurting our kids with radical school boards.
  • Keep your politics bias out of your communication and start working for everyone in the community
  • I’d love to see more community events (e.g. block party or regularly scheduled picnic meetup at Rockford Park) as well as starting a neighborhood Facebook group so we can communicate, share, and get to know each other better. (Nextdoor is not a great resource for that.)
  • I’m embarrassed to say I am not sure how to improve this.
  • Protect neighborhood integrity with respect to Gibraltar project regarding traffic and property values
  • I’m not aware of the issues HCA advocates with our legislators. I’d recommend that HCA communicate this information via the newsletter, Zoom meetings, etc. HCA has done a much better job recently in communicating with constituents, which is very much appreciated. Thank you for all that you do. 
  • Facilitate greater political influence as we are likely the highest tax base neighborhood in the city.
  • I’m not sure improvements are possible. I am extremely grateful for the work done.
  • Advocate for fixing the Alapocas footbridge
  • I’d like to see better awareness of wildlife protection in the Highlands, eg take on steps homeowners can take to provide support for wildlife, emergency # and reminders for how to seek assistance for injured wildlife and occasional/articles talks to help demystify long-held assumptions/fears about wildlife.

Visit Highlands Community Association website for more. And join Mayor Mike Purzycki for a special Highlands Live on Wednesday, October 27 at 7pm via Zoom (link here).

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