Groundbreaking news in Delco

New jobs, new housing and new businesses across the county

The "de-malling" of Granite Run Mall, upscale apartments in Media, a major Hollywood production in Chester Township, and new hotels coming to Upper Darby all point to a very positive economic outlook for Delaware County residents.

Delaware County Council partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to present an upbeat "State of the County" address today at the Drexelbrook Center in Upper Darby, where bulldozers worked outside to prepare for the construction of a Holiday Inn.

Council Chairman Mario J. Civera Jr. highlighted dozens of major projects that will improve the quality of life, economic opportunity and growth prospects for the county.

"We are a small county land-wise, we are a historic county with older neighborhoods and buildings, but we are at the forefront of so much modern growth and exciting developments and it's just amazing," Civera said. "Delco has it all- the workforce, the innovation, the partnerships, the location and the people to make it all work!"

Civera was joined by Vice Chair Colleen Morrone, John McBlain, Dave White and Mike Culp in spotlighting various aspects of county government including workforce development, open space preservation, criminal justice innovations and Human Services programs for vulnerable residents.

"You have people like Michael Markman renovating Granite Run Mall. You have not one, but two hotels coming to Upper Darby. One of our largest and most historic employers, Wawa, is building a state-of-the-art facility at its Red Roof headquarters in Chester Heights. Media is experiencing a boom in residential construction with apartments and townhouses in the West End and a Hampton Inn coming to the East End. And Boeing, our largest employer, marked its 100th year of pioneering aviation and its aircraft are still in high demand," Civera said.

Small businesses are also prospering. A Folcroft company called Scrub Daddy won Shark Tank's Most Successful Product award in February. A company called Medical Solutions Supplier in Glen Mills was just named the Best Small Company to Work For by A family from Broomall is creating state-of-the-art medical devices at Basil Leaf Technologies. And Eddystone Borough welcomed Aero Aggregates, the first U.S.-based company to produce lightweight aggregates from recycled glass.

"We have another major film wrapping up at Sun Center Studios in Chester Township, this one starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman. It's called 'Untouchable' and it's based on the story of a wealthy man confined to a wheelchair and his caregiver. Filming started in Philly in January and indoor sets were used at Sun Studios. Some of our local school students were treated to a tour of the filming earlier this month which also motivates our youth."

All of this innovation is happening right here in Delaware County, Civera said.

"And why wouldn't it?! We've got great schools and universities, excellent health care systems, public transportation, wonderful neighborhoods and open space, parks and recreation. We're within minutes of the airport, the city and the riverfront. And we have the best, hardest-working residents," Civera said.

Vice Chairman Morrone talked about efforts to develop a workforce that meets today's demands, especially in technology and energy sectors. She said the county Office of Workforce Development served 1,510 individuals last year and partnered with the Chamber and local businesses to offer on-the-job training plus an ex-offender job placement program.

Morrone also announced several initiatives to preserve open space in the county, including the opening of the Chester Creek Rail Trail in Middletown, preservation of 240 acres of Beaver Valley in Concord and the expansion of the Darby Creek Trail in Upper Darby.

Councilman McBlain detailed initiatives in criminal justice, stressing that public safety is one of Council's top priorities. He told attendees about the work of the county's Criminal Justice Advisory Board and talked about the success of special treatment courts for offenders who may suffer from addiction or mental illness. He also touted the county's universities, which are all experiencing growth in enrollment and new buildings and programs on their campuses, especially McBlain's alma mater, Villanova University that is completing a $600 million capital improvement campaign.

Councilman White listed the many ways that the county serves vulnerable residents through the Human Services Department, including at-risk children, people with intellectual disabilities and elderly residents. White also updated the crowd on the critical work the Heroin Task Force is doing each day to battle the current opioid epidemic that is taking the lives of so many people. He noted that police in Delaware County have saved 580 lives with the use of Nasal Narcan, making Delaware County the leader in the number of saves throughout the state. White also highlighted the county's Recovery Specialist programs which provide around the clock help to residents suffering an overdose or addiction.

Councilman Culp wrapped up with news from the small business community and gave an update on the Commerce Center's economic development efforts that include an incubator for emerging entrepreneurs.

The entire 2017 State of the County address is available here.

Delaware County Council partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to present the State of the County address at the Drexelbrook on April 19. This year's theme was "Groundbreaking News in Delco" with a focus on new jobs, housing, business and innovation throughout the county. The entire 2017 State of the County address is available on the county's website:

From left: Delaware County Commerce Center Director Patrick Killian, Councilman John McBlain, Chairman Mario Civera Jr., Vice Chair Colleen Morrone, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce President Trish McFarland, Councilman Dave White, Councilman Mike Culp, Delaware County Sheriff Mary McFall Hopper and Delaware County Executive Director Marianne Grace