Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Revitalizing Downtown Areas in Delaware Cities

“The opportunities available to Delawareans depend in large part upon whether our cities are safe and vibrant. Not only does our economic future depend on it, but when neighborhoods are cleared of vacant houses and more people live and work in our cities, they are safer for everyone. With cities across the country experiencing a surge of growth, we must take this opportunity to renovate abandoned property, attract new residents and businesses, and reinvigorate our downtowns.

In Delaware, we’ve seen the potential for revitalization: The Queen Theater in Wilmington lay dormant as a cultural center for half a century before it was brought back to life. Here in Dover at the Schwartz Center for the Arts there is a similar story of renewal. And we have great assets in Sussex County, like the beautiful main street in Bridgeville with century-old mansions. But given the financial challenges facing our cities and towns, we need to work together to meet our potential.

That’s why I visited all of these towns this week – to unveil a proposal to create Downtown Development Districts in every county. In these designated areas it will be more affordable to pursue residential, commercial, and industrial development. We will focus historic preservation tax credits there and other state agencies will prioritize projects for the selected districts.

Downtown Development Districts will signify to residents, developers, investors, and others that we are committed to our downtowns’ future. As noted author Jane Jacobs wrote: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” Working together, we will ensure our downtowns provide something for everybody who is touched by them and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.”

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