Senator Joe Biden's Hometown of Claymont, Del., Celebrates Vice Presidential Nomination

Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:43pm EDT

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Senator Joe Biden's Hometown of Claymont, Del., Celebrates Vice Presidential
Nomination
Biden's ties to Claymont are as strong now as when he was growing up

CLAYMONT, Del., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Vice Presidential
nomination of Claymont's native son, Senator Joe Biden, has brought local
excitement and national media attention to this working class town on the
banks of the Delaware River. Claymont, population 16,000, is located in
northeastern Delaware, 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
    After moving from Scranton, Pa., as a young child, Biden's family settled
in Claymont at the Brookview Townhomes. After years of decline, the 66-acre
Brookview was demolished in November 2007 to make way for a new urbanist
community to be known as Renaissance Village. Claymont is undergoing a
dramatic revitalization, and Renaissance Village -- the first community of its
kind in Delaware -- is considered to be the centerpiece of this small town's
transformation.
    Biden attended Holy Rosary parochial school and was active in many church
youth groups, as he discussed in his 2007 book Promises to Keep. After Holy
Rosary, Biden went to high school at the renowned Archmere Academy, also
located in Claymont. Founded by the Norbertine Order, Archmere's sprawling
campus was once the estate of millionaire financier John Jacob Raskob
(1879-1950). Raskob was the builder of the Empire State building and chairman
of the Democratic National Committee from 1928 - 1932.
    Biden first held elected office as a New Castle County Councilman
representing Claymont and Brandywine Hundred. Elected to the United States
Senate in 1972, Biden has continued to work closely with community leaders on
the Claymont Renaissance revitalization efforts.
    Many locals remember Biden's Claymont youth. Carolyn Mercadante, president
of the Claymont Historical Society, recalled the day her brother Pete Gentili
watched an adventurous Joe Biden climb to the top of Claymont's iconic water
tower. She distinctly remembers how Biden and his father cared for her brother
after he received a bad cut to the head.
    "He was always a leader and has had always had my vote," Mercadante said.
    "Claymont has a wealth of history, and the possibility of having a Vice
President of the United States from our community inspires us all," said Brett
Saddler, executive director of the Claymont Renaissance Development
Corporation (CRDC). The CRDC's mission is to coordinate the ongoing
revitalization efforts.
    While the Brookview property has been the focal point of the CRDC's work
for the past several years, other recent Claymont redevelopment work has
included renovations of the historically significant Claymont Stone School,
Darley House and Robinson House; a DelDOT streetscaping plan for Philadelphia
Pike (Claymont's main thoroughfare); a new post office and updated commuter
rail station; and revitalization of existing landmark structures designed to
draw additional businesses to the area while increasing pedestrian traffic.
SOURCE  Claymont Renaissance Development Corporation

Brett Saddler, Executive Director, +1-302-798-1364 (direct), +1-302-354-1931
(mobile)
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