Governor Markell Signs Bill to Revitalize Urban Areas, Spur Economic Development

Law creates plan proposed in State of the State to designate Downtown Development Districts

 Dover, DE – Joined by community leaders, legislators, and local officials from all 3 counties, Governor Markell signed Senate Bill 191 today to establish economic development incentives that promote revitalization of Delaware’s downtowns.

First proposed in the Governor’s State of the State address in January, SB 191 allows for the creation of Downtown Development Districts – a small number of areas in cities in towns that would qualify for significant development incentives and other state benefits. Senators Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington East), Brian Bushweller (D-Dover), and Robert Marshall (D-Wilmington West), as well as Representatives Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South), Stephanie Bolden (D-Wilmington), and Darryl Scott (D-Dover) were the prime sponsors of the bill, which passed unanimously in the General Assembly after receiving support from various municipalities and community organizations.

“Across the country, people from all walks of life are re-discovering our cities and towns as places where they want to live, work, start a business, and raise a family,” said Governor Markell. “This urban resurgence is beginning to happen in Delaware as well—but it could use a ‘shot in the arm.’ It is my hope that this innovative new program to revitalize our downtowns will bring much-needed energy and resources to areas of our state that have been overlooked for too long.”

Governor Markell signed Senate Bill 191 to establish economic development incentives that promote revitalization of Delaware’s downtowns.
Governor Markell signed Senate Bill 191 to establish economic development incentives that promote revitalization of Delaware’s downtowns.

Through the new program, localities will be able to apply to have a portion of their city, town, or unincorporated area designated as a Downtown Development District (DDD).  Applications will be evaluated using three main criteria: (1) need; (2) the quality of the development plan submitted by the applicant; and (3) local incentives offered. Following the initial round of applications, the Governor will select at least 1 but no more than 3 Districts. Under the program, the first 3 Districts must include 1 District in each county. Up to 15 total districts will be able to qualify at one time.

Subject to funding, investors in the selected Districts would be entitled to grants of up 20 percent of their construction costs. Grants will be available for all types of projects (residential, commercial, and mixed-use), and may be used by for-profit builders and investors, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and homeowners. The grants will be administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA).

In addition to the above grants, state agencies will provide additional incentives for qualified activity within Districts. For example, DSHA will offer additional funding to renovate vacant and abandoned houses in DDDs, and several state agencies (including DelDOT) will prioritize work in Districts. In addition, under SB 292, a percentage of the state’s existing Historic Preservation Tax Credits will be designated to fund qualifying projects in DDDs, recognizing that this tax credit has been a powerful tool in not only preserving historic structures but also in revitalizing communities.

Further details about Downtown Development Districts are explained in this fact sheet. Additional information about the DDD application process, as well as information about specific program benefits and rules, will be available in the weeks to come.

 Comments from Legislation’s Sponsors:

“Strong downtowns have the potential to be tremendous catalysts for developing stronger cities across-the-board, but to achieve that, downtowns have to overcome the challenges of aging buildings and infrastructure,” said Sen. Henry, the bill’s lead sponsor. “This new law will help marshal the kinds of resources we need to meet those challenges and will encourage the all-important investment and support from the private sector that is needed to make this succeed.”

“We are focused on reenergizing downtown Dover and we’ve made great progress,” said Sen. Bushweller. “The program this bill creates provides an additional push and will pay big dividends for communities up and down the state.”

“Our downtowns are the hearts of our communities; they’re what we see in our minds when we think about Wilmington, Dover or Seaford,” said Rep. Helene Keeley. “This new law will 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. Stephanie T. 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.”

Commissioner Stewart Provides Summer Storm Preparedness Tips

Atlantic Hurricane Season Started June 1: Prepare Now for Severe Weather
Dover, DE–Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart wants Delaware residents to prepare for the potential damages and interruptions brought by strong summer storms and hurricanes; the Atlantic hurricane season started June 1. Doing the proper planning now can potentially help save time, money and frustration in the coming months should your home or personal property be negatively impacted by storms, floods or other natural disasters this summer or fall.

The Department of Insurance has a Storm Preparedness webpage filled with resources and information about what to do before, during and after a major storm. There’s an abundance of information about protecting your home or business from damage, and tips for preparing for meeting with an adjuster if your property sustains damages. Visit the Storm Preparedness webpage here:

Commissioner Stewart advises, “Now is a great time to update your personal property inventory for your home, or create one if you’ve never done it before. With today’s technology this process is easier than ever with the help of the free app, MyHome, for your smartphone.” The Department of Insurance also has a home inventory PDF that can be printed. For links to all of these resources visit the Storm Preparedness webpage. “Having an up-to-date home inventory will help make the insurance claims process much easier should your home be damaged by a natural disaster,” notes Commissioner Stewart.

If you do not have flood insurance and live in a flood-prone area it is highly recommended that you consider purchasing flood insurance. Homes located at low elevations and near bodies of water, especially along the state’s eastern limits, are particularly susceptible to flooding during strong thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes. Keep in mind that most flood policies require a 30-day waiting period before they become effective. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, just a single inch of floodwater can cause more than $10,000 in damage to a home. Floods and flash floods occur in all 50 states, and they cannot always be predicted or prepared for which is why purchasing a flood insurance policy as soon as possible is critical to ensuring your property is protected in the event of a disaster.

Below is a brief list of items the Delaware Department of Insurance suggests that you review now, before a disaster strikes. For a complete list of items, visit the Storm Preparedness webpage, mentioned above in this article.

• Make sure that you understand the deductible provision of your policy.
• Keep all of your insurance policies in an easily accessible location.
• If forced to evacuate, keep with you at all times your insurance records, including the name and telephone number of your insurer or insurance agent.
• Be certain you understand the claim procedures of your insurance company.
• Make sure you have insurance up to at least 80% of the value on your home to avoid penalties under any co-insurance provision of your policy.
• Keep all necessary information regarding your health coverage, including prescription information, with your insurance records in the event of an evacuation.

“For the best protection consider scanning all of these important documents and saving them in your personal e-mail or online storage account,” notes Commissioner Stewart. “That way, if documents are lost in a disaster you can still access them from anywhere. Be prepared, you’ll thank yourself later!”

The Delaware Department of Insurance also recommends that residents have evacuation plans and prepare an emergency supply kit. It is recommended that a supply kit should contain: plenty of bottled water, a first aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription drugs, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, and a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks. Additionally, if you need to evacuate your home, turn off all utilities to reduce the chance of additional damage and electrical shock when utilities are restored. For more information on these topics visit

The Delaware Department of Insurance invites you to find out about storm preparedness, and more, at From the homepage you can connect to our Facebook page and Twitter account where helpful information is posted on a regular basis. Consumers with questions about their insurance can always call the Consumer Services Division at 1-800-282-8611.

Delaware Department of Insurance: “Protecting Delawareans through regulation and education while providing oversight of the insurance industry to best serve the public.”

“With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War”: 16th annual Chautauqua tent show to take place in Lewes, Del. from June 15 to 19, 2014

America’s deadliest conflict and its effect on the Delaware home front will be vividly brought to life during the 16th annual Chautauqua tent show, “With Malice Toward None…Delaware Life During the Civil War.” Events and programs will take place at a variety of downtown Lewes, Del. locations including the Zwaanendael Museum and the Lewes Historical Society from June 15 to 19, 2014. Admission is free and open to the public. Go here for a complete listing of activities. For additional information, call 302-645-1148.

Bob Gleason will portray President Abraham Lincoln on June 18.

A unique mixture of education and entertainment, Lewes’ Chautauqua will be held under a large tent and will be headlined by re-enactors from the American Historical Theatre who take on the personas of four individuals who played major roles in the history of the Civil-War-era: President Abraham Lincoln; Union spy Harriet Tubman; nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Clara Barton; and poet and nurse Walt Whitman. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and interact with the featured performers who will remain in-character throughout their appearances.

At the same time, the Chautauqua will explore the impact that the Civil War had on ordinary Delawareans from every strata of society. The First State’s wartime experiences reflected the particularly acute dichotomies and conflicting loyalties that were experienced by Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri—the “border” states that permitted slavery but did not secede from the Union. Delaware’s involvement in the war will be explored in a living-history performance by Wilmingtonian Willis Phelps who will portray James Elbert from Polktown, Del. who enlisted and fought with the United States Colored Troops.

Willis Phelps will portray Pvt. James Elbert of the U.S. Colored Troops on June 15.

Other topics of local interest include the following lectures and presentations:

  • “Benjamin Burton and His Participation in President Lincoln’s ‘Compensated Emancipation’ Scheme.” Presentation on the Indian River Hundred farmer who was the largest slaveholder in Delaware in 1862
  • “Conflicting Loyalties in the Border: Delawareans During the Civil War”
  • “Delaware as a Border State in the American Civil War”
  • “Delaware in the Civil War”
  • “Governor Ross of Delaware.” Program on William Henry Harrison Ross, slaveholder, Southern sympathizer and governor of Delaware from 1851 to 1855
  • “Lewes During the Civil War”
  • Maj. Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert of Georgetown, Del. who served in the Union Army

Chautauqua takes its name from a series of adult education programs that were first held at a campsite on the shores of Lake Chautauqua in upstate New York during the late 19th century. Chautauquas spread throughout America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries bringing speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day to a wide cross-section of the nation’s rural and small-town population. Circuit Chautauquas (also known as Tent Chautauquas) were an itinerant manifestation of the movement. Programs would be presented in tents pitched in a field near town. After several days, the Chautauqua would fold its tents and move on to the next community. The popularity of Chautauquas peaked in the mid-1920s, after which radio, movies and automobiles brought about the gradual disappearance of the movement by the 1940s.

Dr. Daisy Century will portray Harriet Tubman on June 15.

Reborn in the 1970s as a vehicle for humanities education, modern Chautauquas are organized around a core program in which re-enactors portray celebrated historical figures, speaking and interacting with audiences, often in the setting of a large outdoor tent. Modern Chautauquas have been presented annually in Delaware since 1999 featuring a wide variety of historical figures including Amelia Earhart; Dolley Madison; Eleanor Roosevelt; Edgar Allan Poe; the Lone Ranger; John Philip Sousa; and Delaware’s own Allen McLane, F.O.C. Darley and Clifford Brown.

Delaware’s 2014 Chautauqua is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities Forum, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The program is co-sponsored by the Lewes Historical Society and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs with additional financial support from the Delaware Heritage Commission, Delmarva Power and Sussex County Council under the auspices of Councilwoman Joan Deaver.

Delaware Humanities Forum logo

Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone:  302-736-7413

Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs Sponsors Freedom 5K Run/Walk on July 5th

Dover – The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs will sponsor the 15th Annual Freedom 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, July 5, 2014, 9:00 AM, at Silver Lake Park in Dover. A Healthy Kids Run (kids 8 & under) starts at 8:55 AM. All proceeds will benefit the Delaware Veterans Trust Fund that provides assistance to Delaware’s veterans in financial crisis. The registration fee is $20 until June 28th, $25 after and on event day. Registration starts at 8:00 AM. Kiddie K race is FREE! Make checks payable and mail to Veterans Trust Fund, 2772 Hazlettville Rd, Dover, DE 19904. Contact Ray at 302-674-3213 or email: Races4u@TriSportEvents.Com. Register online at http://www.TriSportsEvents.Com.  Can’t make the race but would still like to support this event?  Register as a Silent Hero!  Unique awards for overall male, female and master’s winners and top 3 male & female runners in 10 year age groups starting with 14 & under, thru 70 & over.  5K walk awards for top 3 male & female finishers.  AWARDS to most patriotic male & female participants.  Ribbons to all Kiddie K finishers.  “Freedom 5K” tee shirts to all participants and volunteers.  Post race festivities includes free food and beverage.

2014 Click It Or Ticket Enforcement Results

Dover –  From May 12th to 26th, officers from 36 State, County, and municipal law enforcement agencies issued a total of 1,035 citations to unbuckled motorists during the annual Click It or Ticket campaign.  The enforcement portion of the campaign involved traffic safety checkpoints and saturation patrols both day and night.

Officers working the 2 week Click It or Ticket campaign also issued 43 child restraint citations, 489 speeding citations, made 9 DUI arrests, issued 334 cell phone citations, apprehended 24 wanted persons, made 21 drug arrests, and arrested 2 others for felony violations.

Delaware’s current statewide seat belt usage rate is 92%.  OHS officials have begun their evaluation to determine if there has been any increase in the state’s belt usage rate in the last year by conducting a series of observational seat belt surveys at locations throughout Delaware.  OHS officials will be surveying motorists on roads throughout the state and recording whether drivers and passengers are wearing seat belts.  Motorists on all types of roadways from interstates to two-lane roads will be observed.  Survey results should be available by early fall.

Since January 1st, 39% of all drivers and passengers killed in vehicle crashes in the First State were not wearing seat belts and as many as half of them may have survived the crash had they been buckled up.  Your chances of being partial or fully ejected from a vehicle increases significantly when not wearing a seat belt. The safest place in a crash is in the vehicle.  Click It or Ticket is a nationwide seat belt enforcement and awareness campaign aimed at saving lives by increasing the number of people who consistently buckle up.

Delaware’s campaign included an awareness message featuring a Delaware State Trooper “I write tickets to save lives.” The messages were aired statewide on radio, internet, and print and billboards.  OHS continued their partnerships with Racing Limos of Dover to wrap the hood of a limo with the Click It or Ticket message. OHS also sent seat belt kits to high schools that gave fun ideas and activities for the schools to help teach students about the importance of bucking up such as setting up a faux checkpoint as students leave the school parking lot.  OHS also partnered with Chick-Fil-A in Camden for a seat belt event featuring the Chick-Fil-A cow and OHS own Bucklebear.   OHS also promoted seat belt safety at Dover International Speedway May 30-June 1st with the NASCAR Nationwide Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket that was also accompanied by a Buckle Up display in the Monster Mile FanZone with seat belt activities for fans.

OHS has also established new partnerships this year with several little league organizations throughout the state. Throughout the summer OHS will bring the seat belt message to parents and kids during the games with activities including a fast pitch game, mascot appearances by Wilmington Blue Rocks “Rocky”, the Shorebirds mascot “Sherman”, and OHS very own Bucklebear.  Each mascot will be handing out custom Buckle Up baseball cards to kids to teach them about seat belt safety.

The next wave of seat belt enforcement and education in hopes of getting more drivers and passengers buckled up will run June 6th to 19th followed by another wave July 18th –August 2nd.

Seat belts save lives. Get the facts:

  • Wearing a seat belt decreases your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a crash by approximately 50%.
  • Strong seat belt laws protect families.  When parents are buckled up, 90% of the time their children are too.
  • The safest place for children under 12 to be buckled up is the back seat.
  • Hospital data shows that unbelted occupants in crashes are 3 times more likely to require a hospital stay. On average, hospital costs for an unbelted crash victim are 55% higher than those for a belted crash victim.

For more information on Click It or Ticket enforcement results and a look at updated campaign materials, please visit, like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at .