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Governor Markell Proposes Downtown Development Districts

Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | News | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014



Announces plan to help revitalize urban areas

Wilmington, DE – Joined by community leaders, legislators, and local officials at events in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties today, Governor Markell unveiled his proposal for economic development incentives and other benefits that would help revitalize downtown areas in Delaware’s cities. The effort was previewed in Markell’s State of the State address.

“Our success as a state and the opportunities available to Delawareans depends in large part upon whether our cities are safe and vibrant,” said Markell, who outlined the plan at The Queen in Wilmington, the Schwartz Center in Dover, and the Bridgeville Fire Hall. “With the determination of so many Delaware community leaders, committed investors, talented businesspeople, and individuals from all walks of life, we have the opportunity to generate a surge of cultural, real estate, and business activity that could jumpstart underdeveloped areas of our cities. These individuals just need a little help to make their visions for our downtowns a reality. And we know how states can provide effective assistance. It’s time to act.”

fDSCF9600
Governor Markell unveiled his proposal for economic development incentives and other benefits that would help revitalize downtown areas in Delaware’s cities.

Under the plan, municipalities would apply to have a portion of their city or town designated as Downtown Development Districts. Investors in the selected districts would be entitled to grants administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority. These can be valued at up to 20 percent of their construction costs, while state agencies, including DelDOT, would prioritize work in these areas and offer additional incentives. Following the initial round of applications, the Governor will designate 1 – 3 districts, but up to 15 total districts will be able to qualify at one time based on available funding. The first 3 districts must span all three counties.

Legislation to create the selection process and incentives for these districts will be sponsored by Senators Brian Bushweller (D-Dover), Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East), and Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington West), as well as Representatives Stephanie Bolden (D-Wilmington), Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South), and Darryl Scott (D-Dover).

Details are explained in this fact sheet.

Markell noted that Delaware has a chance to take advantage of a trend that has seen increasing growth rates in attractive downtowns. The latest census found that, from 2000 – 2010, downtowns in America’s major metropolitan areas experienced double-digit growth at a rate that was twice that of their cities’ overall growth. And last year, for the first time since the 1920s, America’s biggest cities grew at a faster rate than their suburbs.

Re-orienting state growth strategies to incentivize urban living is especially important in a small state. A 2013 report on State Planning Issues found that “the cost of providing [state government] services is greatly affected by our pattern of land use.  In general, the more spread out we are, the more costly it is for taxpayers.”

A similar initiative in Virginia, used as a model by Markell, has proven successful in leveraging significant amounts of private funding.

Comments from Legislation’s Sponsors:

“Just look at the Riverfront and the area here at the Queen Theater,” said Sen. Henry, the bill’s lead sponsor, during an event announcing the measure in Wilmington.  “This whole area of downtown is finding its legs because everyone has played a role and is invested in its success. But, go a few blocks from this gem, and you can find areas where a lack of investment and empowerment has downtown neighborhoods hanging on by a thread. That cannot stand and we all hope this bill helps change that.”

“Here in Dover, we’ve been working hard to reenergize our downtown and the Downtown Dover Partnership’s done a lot to get us on that road,” said Sen. Bushweller. “I think this approach, that brings all the key public and private players together and that forces downtown groups to develop a focused approach to improving city centers, will pay big dividends for communities up and down the state.”

“As the revitalization projects we’re talking about move forward, they’ll put people to work restoring or building new structures – it can help our blue collar workers find new jobs rebuilding their communities,” said Sen. Marshall. “I’m proud to be a part of an effort that can do so much for Delaware and Delawareans.”

“Our downtowns are the hearts of our communities; they’re what we see in our minds when we think about Wilmington or Dover or Newark,” said Rep. Keeley. “We need to make sure these essential parts of our cities and towns are vibrant centers of growth we can be proud of.”

“There is a mix of ‘mom and pop’ stores that have been in the neighborhood for years and new businesses popping up that have created a strong energy in the community,” said Rep. Bolden. “There is definitely potential for growth, and we need to maximize on the opportunity to do so.”

“A downtown like Dover’s draws as much from its rich past as it does from its plans for the future, and our history compliments and enriches what we want to see come next,” said Rep. Scott. “This initiative is about infusing these historic neighborhoods with fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm.”

Video from the event

Photos from the event

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Keep up to date by receiving a daily digest email, around noon, of current news release posts from state agencies on news.delaware.gov.

Here you can subscribe to future news updates.

Governor Markell Proposes Downtown Development Districts

Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | News | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014



Announces plan to help revitalize urban areas

Wilmington, DE – Joined by community leaders, legislators, and local officials at events in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties today, Governor Markell unveiled his proposal for economic development incentives and other benefits that would help revitalize downtown areas in Delaware’s cities. The effort was previewed in Markell’s State of the State address.

“Our success as a state and the opportunities available to Delawareans depends in large part upon whether our cities are safe and vibrant,” said Markell, who outlined the plan at The Queen in Wilmington, the Schwartz Center in Dover, and the Bridgeville Fire Hall. “With the determination of so many Delaware community leaders, committed investors, talented businesspeople, and individuals from all walks of life, we have the opportunity to generate a surge of cultural, real estate, and business activity that could jumpstart underdeveloped areas of our cities. These individuals just need a little help to make their visions for our downtowns a reality. And we know how states can provide effective assistance. It’s time to act.”

fDSCF9600
Governor Markell unveiled his proposal for economic development incentives and other benefits that would help revitalize downtown areas in Delaware’s cities.

Under the plan, municipalities would apply to have a portion of their city or town designated as Downtown Development Districts. Investors in the selected districts would be entitled to grants administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority. These can be valued at up to 20 percent of their construction costs, while state agencies, including DelDOT, would prioritize work in these areas and offer additional incentives. Following the initial round of applications, the Governor will designate 1 – 3 districts, but up to 15 total districts will be able to qualify at one time based on available funding. The first 3 districts must span all three counties.

Legislation to create the selection process and incentives for these districts will be sponsored by Senators Brian Bushweller (D-Dover), Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East), and Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington West), as well as Representatives Stephanie Bolden (D-Wilmington), Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South), and Darryl Scott (D-Dover).

Details are explained in this fact sheet.

Markell noted that Delaware has a chance to take advantage of a trend that has seen increasing growth rates in attractive downtowns. The latest census found that, from 2000 – 2010, downtowns in America’s major metropolitan areas experienced double-digit growth at a rate that was twice that of their cities’ overall growth. And last year, for the first time since the 1920s, America’s biggest cities grew at a faster rate than their suburbs.

Re-orienting state growth strategies to incentivize urban living is especially important in a small state. A 2013 report on State Planning Issues found that “the cost of providing [state government] services is greatly affected by our pattern of land use.  In general, the more spread out we are, the more costly it is for taxpayers.”

A similar initiative in Virginia, used as a model by Markell, has proven successful in leveraging significant amounts of private funding.

Comments from Legislation’s Sponsors:

“Just look at the Riverfront and the area here at the Queen Theater,” said Sen. Henry, the bill’s lead sponsor, during an event announcing the measure in Wilmington.  “This whole area of downtown is finding its legs because everyone has played a role and is invested in its success. But, go a few blocks from this gem, and you can find areas where a lack of investment and empowerment has downtown neighborhoods hanging on by a thread. That cannot stand and we all hope this bill helps change that.”

“Here in Dover, we’ve been working hard to reenergize our downtown and the Downtown Dover Partnership’s done a lot to get us on that road,” said Sen. Bushweller. “I think this approach, that brings all the key public and private players together and that forces downtown groups to develop a focused approach to improving city centers, will pay big dividends for communities up and down the state.”

“As the revitalization projects we’re talking about move forward, they’ll put people to work restoring or building new structures – it can help our blue collar workers find new jobs rebuilding their communities,” said Sen. Marshall. “I’m proud to be a part of an effort that can do so much for Delaware and Delawareans.”

“Our downtowns are the hearts of our communities; they’re what we see in our minds when we think about Wilmington or Dover or Newark,” said Rep. Keeley. “We need to make sure these essential parts of our cities and towns are vibrant centers of growth we can be proud of.”

“There is a mix of ‘mom and pop’ stores that have been in the neighborhood for years and new businesses popping up that have created a strong energy in the community,” said Rep. Bolden. “There is definitely potential for growth, and we need to maximize on the opportunity to do so.”

“A downtown like Dover’s draws as much from its rich past as it does from its plans for the future, and our history compliments and enriches what we want to see come next,” said Rep. Scott. “This initiative is about infusing these historic neighborhoods with fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm.”

Video from the event

Photos from the event

image_printPrint

Related Topics:  , ,


Graphic that represents delaware news on a mobile phone

Keep up to date by receiving a daily digest email, around noon, of current news release posts from state agencies on news.delaware.gov.

Here you can subscribe to future news updates.