Delaware County's 2024 State of the County: Building a Stronger County

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Released: June 17, 2024

Delaware County Council was proud to present the annual State of the County on June 5 at the Llanerch Country Club in Havertown. Hosted by the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the event provides Chamber members, business leaders, and members of the community the opportunity to learn about accomplishments, ongoing projects, and goals of County Council and County leadership.

This year’s theme, “Building a Stronger County,” focused on Council’s commitment to smartly investing in Delaware County and building a stronger county.

Where is Delco today?

Delaware County has more residents than it has ever had before- over 576,000. Our unemployment rate is lower than the state’s and our per capita income is higher that the state’s. We are healthier and safer than we were several years ago.

Highlights from the State of the County:

  • In the past two years, a broad array of health programs and services have been implemented by the newly created Delaware County Health Department including offering vaccines to children and seniors, mammograms, flu shot clinics, lead poisoning prevention efforts, public health emergency preparedness, and much more.

  • Delaware County isn’t experiencing the crime spikes that other communities are dealing with. Chester, once the most violent community in the Commonwealth, has seen a 72% decrease in people being shot since 2019. Last year, we saw the fewest gun homicides in Delaware County in two decades and a 68% decrease in gun violence homicides since 2019, down from 32 to 10- the fewest in 20 years. Council commended District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer and his team for his dedication and work towards reducing crime.

  • Delaware County’s Planning Department worked to secure a $2.5M grant to improving the safety and connectivity along 291 in Chester. The funding will also improve Chester’s segment of the East Coast Greenways- a walking and biking trail that will span 3,000 miles when it is completed.

  • The Planning Department is also conducting a Vision Zero Delco Plan, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries and ensure safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all residents.

  • Delaware County is making significant investments in its infrastructure. Guided by the data from our Facilities Condition Assessment, investments are being made to complete long overdue repairs and replacements of our major building systems and bridges, modernize the work environment to retain County employees and attract new talent, and invest in technology to make County operations expenditures more transparent and the delivery of services quick and efficient. The County is investing $150 million, largely through bond financing, in long overdue capital investments in bridges and addressing delayed maintenance of our buildings.

  • Council worked to open a County food bank to help those facing food insecurity, expanded treatment for people suffering from addiction, and is increasing resources and services for Veterans, including launching the Delaware County Veteran Discount Program.

  • The County formed a Housing Coalition to address the need for affordable and safe housing for all residents. Accomplishments include a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to administer the Whole Home Repair Program, funding for the redevelopment of Green Hill Court in Darby Township providing 53 affordable rental units, and construction of the SHARE Food Distribution Center.

Council also highlighted the County’s efforts to protect the environment:

  • The County is reducing waste and increasing recycling so we can protect taxpayers and our environment. As part of their infrastructure improvement program, the Solid Waste Authority will no longer incinerate trash, a massive improvement for our environment and the health of everyone who lives nearby. They will also update the transfer stations to include community recycling for all County residents.

  • The County’s Office of Sustainability has achieved tangible and measurable actions to reach its goals identified in the County’s first Sustainability Plan including reducing electricity usage in the Government Center, an updated recycling program, composting at the Government Center, and much more.

  • The County has made unprecedented investments in expanding and improving our park system and open green space through the Greenways Grants program. Several major capital improvement projects came to fruition in 2023 including the renovation of Upland Park, opening the incredible Destination Playground at Rose Tree Park, and Phase I improvements to the Little Flower property. The County is actively working on its plan to utilize the preserved space at Delco Woods.

Building a stronger County also means empowering residents to develop the skills they need to secure and keep well-paying jobs. The County’s Office of Workforce Development focuses on training and upskilling adults and youth to meet the needs of Delaware County employers.

Delaware County’s labor market is strong and stable. Data shows a 3% unemployment rate in the county in April 2024, which is down by about 6,000 people in 2019 prior to Covid. That is 6,000 more residents we have out in the work field and providing for themselves and their families.

The County has worked to transform its criminal justice system, addressing alleged abuse in the Juvenile Detention Center to making incarceration a time when people can reset their lives before returning to our community, which makes their lives better and our community safer.

We are investing in prevention programs, mental health services and substance use treatment and prevention; all of which can help stabilize individuals, families and communities.

The County modernized its purchasing process and invested in the Recorder of Deeds. We improved our 911 system – which now uses AI to improve tracking and early warning – and purchased new radios to ensure the safety of police and first responders.

The State of the County also included an update from the County’s Executive Director Barbara O’Malley who expressed pride surrounding Council’s accomplishments and excitement for the future.

"Since joining the County in January, I have learned about the tremendous strides this Council has made in a short period of time,” said O’Malley. “They have taken on bold but necessary initiatives, ensuring the health of our residents by creating a health department in what was the largest county in the U.S. without one, deprivitizing a prison, in a state with no other privately run facility, creating safer communities, securing open space and improving recreation areas.”

Director O’Malley also discussed her responsibility to focus on ensuring that the County has the resources necessary to carry out Council’s vision and provide Delaware County with the services and growth it needs to meet the future.

A video presentation of the 2024 State of the County can be found online at

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About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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