Wilmington City Council calls for more HUBZone businesses

By Tom Lehman 1:17am, February 8, 2013 - Updated 1:26am, February 8, 2013
Wilmington City Council is encouraging small businesses to move into areas of economic need.

Council unanimously passed a resolution encouraging small businesses to locate to Historically Underutilized Business Zones within the city limits.

"This resolution is simply encouraging this tool to be utilized within the city to to bring more businesses to the city of Wilmington," says councilman Darius Brown, the sponsor of the resolution.

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The HUBZone program is run by the U.S. Small Business Administration and helps firms get preferential access to federal contracts if they are located within rural or urban areas of economic need and qualify specific circumstances.

"There's some pretty heavy tax credits to these investors too, so this is a wonderful program for districts to get involved in," says councilwoman Loretta Walsh.

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Brown says the first business to locate in the city's HUBZones will be Masley Enterprises, which manufactures gloves for police and military soldiers.

He says Masley Enterprises is expected to open their new facility on Jessup Street in March.

Fallen officer honored

Council also recognized Charles Schultz, a city police officer who was slain in 1891.

The honor comes after the department announced last week it will add his name to their list of fallen officers on the 121st anniversary of his death.

His name had been missing from the department's list, and only discovered by a retired police officer, says Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning.

She accepted the honor in front of council, after living family members of Schultz could not be found to accept the award.

"As police officers, we know that one day we could possibly have the ultimate sacrifice because we put our lives on the line every day," Dunning said during the presentation of resolution.

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Schultz's name will also be added to the national law enforcement memorial in Washington D.C., in addition to the memorial at the Wilmington police department.

Council members reflect on shooting of police officer

Less than a week after a city police officer was shot while performing a vehicle stop, some council members called for harsher punishments on repeat gun offenders.

Councilman Bob Williams says he thinks there needs to be stronger punishment doled out on those who break gun crimes.

He says the city should adopt similar gun crime laws to those in Massachusetts or New Jersey.

"Get caught carrying a gun without a permit, minimum one year of jail. I think that's gonna send a message to our people that we're not gonna play games with guns in Wilmington," Williams says.

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Councilman Mike Brown, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, says the city should try to find a way to fund a program that targets youth who are repeat offenders with gun crimes.

"They keep running around here with these pistols or these guns...and they get slapped on the hand and they're put right back on the streets and caught with something else," he says.

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City Council is expected to hear a briefing on policing plans next Tuesday during a public safety committee meeting.

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