Governor Carney: “When we revitalize and bring back neighborhoods like this and strengthen neighborhoods across our city, we’re strengthening our state”

Carney attends ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking for Phases I and II of Flats Redevelopment

Phase II of Flats Redevelopment in Wilmington
Governor Carney joins in the groundbreaking of Phase II of the Flats redevelopment.

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney today helped celebrate progress toward housing redevelopment in the Flats neighborhood in Wilmington. Phases I and II of the Flats project, being redeveloped by the Todmorden Foundation and the Woodlawn Trustees, were supported by $6.5 million from Delaware’s Housing Development Fund, overseen by the Delaware State Housing Authority.

“First and foremost, this is about a community on the West Side – a strong community in our city,” said Governor Carney. “It’s about the people who live there. It’s about workforce housing. But to put a housing project together like this takes a big team and a big partnership. It should go without saying that as goes the City of Wilmington, so goes the State of Delaware. And when we revitalize and bring back neighborhoods like this and strengthen neighborhoods across our city, we’re strengthening our state. I want to thank all of the people who made this project possible, and I want to congratulate and thank the people who will live in the Flats.”

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Building and Sustaining a Stronger, More Prosperous Delaware

Revitalizing Delaware Downtowns

Dover, DE – In the weeks ahead, the Governor’s office will release a series of videos highlighting the progress the state has made over the past eight years through the voices of Delawareans. They will address ways in which the lives of Delawareans today, and generations to come, are being affected by efforts to strengthen our schools, develop cleaner and more efficient energy, make the state a safer and more welcoming place for all people, improve recreational and cultural options, and create more economic development and opportunity.

In conjunction with today’s event recognizing Homeownership Month, the below video addresses the impact of one initiative: the Downtown Development Districts program, which has leveraged almost $10 million into $160 million in private investment across all three counties. Through the DDD program, the state is encouraging private developers to re-invest in Delaware’s downtown areas. In Downtown Dover, as you’ll see below, the program already is helping support new, affordable homeownership opportunities.

In addition to improvements as a result of the DDD program, the Delaware State Housing Authority has continued to promote homeownership through low-cost mortgage loans, its down payment assistance programs and first-time homebuyer tax credits. Since 2009, more than 5,500 Delaware families have purchased a home with DSHA assistance, and growth of Delaware’s homeownership rate has outpaced regional and national trends. Access to low rates and settlement assistance through DSHA’s programs helped sustain demand through the economic recovery.

Excerpts from the video:

“As we start to transform some of the neighborhood blocks, bring in homeownership and provide affordable housing that helps to stabilize the area makes the business investment more attractive,” Ann Marie Townshend, Director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Dover, said. “We’re working equally as hard to work with the business community to bring in additional businesses to get some of the commercial properties renovated and built.”

“What we’re able to do is create that affordable homeownership by keeping the cost of construction down and by also raising funds to use the DDD funds and leveraging those to other organizations, so we can make this affordable homeownership possible,” Jonathon Gallo, Executive Director of Central Habitat for Humanity, said.

“I think the state should always invest in their communities. This isn’t a bad place,” Alicia Jarvis, Kirkwood Street Homeowner, said. “Dover is a great place and what I see what’s coming along on this street alone is an awesome experience.”

The video series will be released via email as well as on the Governor’s YouTube channel. This week’s video is available on:

YouTube: https://youtu.be/pixtyzQxLsA
Delaware.Gov: http://governor.delaware.gov/podcast_video.shtml
By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/governormarkell
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/governormarkell


Governor’s Weekly Message: Expanding Opportunities to Promote Homeownership

Wilmington, DE – In his weekly message, Governor Markell talks about the benefits of homeownership and the effort to expand those opportunities through access to credit and financing assistance and financial literacy education, and partnerships among government, non-profits and the business community to drive accessible and affordable housing development statewide.

“Owning a home is part of the American Dream. Promoting homeownership is a good way to improve peoples’ lives, and the Delaware State Housing Authority has led our effort to expand those opportunities through programs like our first-time homebuyer tax credit and the Home Again initiative for repeat homebuyers,” Governor Markell said. “Our Downtown Development Districts are providing incentives to developers to build near employment centers and close to public transportation, and we’ve increased homeownership opportunities for Delawareans across income levels. These initiatives demonstrate the good we can do by working across agencies, with not-for-profits and the business community to solve problems for real people, and thanks to these partnerships Delaware’s homeownership rate today is the third highest in the country. That’s an advantage as we compete in the global marketplace for new businesses and new jobs. And that will keep Delaware moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

YouTube: https://youtu.be/qCYHNX7O08c
Delaware.Gov:http://governor.delaware.gov/podcast_video.shtml
By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/governormarkell
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/governormarkell

Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Expanding Opportunities to Promote Homeownership


Downtown Development District Program Will Expand

Governor Markell announces state will accept new applications to grow initiative after successful start in Wilmington, Dover, and Seaford

• Delaware’s Office of State Planning Coordination will administer the application process.
• Applications from local governments interested in being designated as a Downtown Development District are due to the OSPC on or before June 1, 2016.
• Application materials are available at stateplanning.delaware.gov.
• To date, $9.7 million in program grants is leveraging more than $160 million in private investment in downtown districts in Dover, Seaford and Wilmington

Wilmington, DE – Building on efforts to revitalize downtown areas statewide, Governor Jack Markell announced on Wednesday that the state will accept new applications from local governments interested in being designated as Downtown Development Districts.

Residential, commercial and industrial development in designated districts may qualify for a menu of local and state incentives, including grant rebates to offset the cost of private investment.

Governor Markell made the announcement Wednesday morning in Wilmington at the 2016 Downtown Delaware “Revitalize!” Conference.

“Delaware’s downtowns are drivers of economic growth and prosperity, and this program has proven that a small amount of state support can catalyze major private investment to energize these key areas,” said Governor Markell. “We look forward to building on the program’s success, and supporting more investment.”

The DDD program, initially proposed by the Governor in his 2014 State of the State address, was created by legislation passed unanimously by the General Assembly that spring.

In January 2015, Governor Markell selected areas of Dover, Seaford and Wilmington as Delaware’s first Downtown Development Districts. Wednesday’s announcement will allow cities to once again apply for the designation.

DDD Projects Underway

So far, $9.7 million in grant funding is leveraging more than $160 million of private investment in the current districts.

Projects include a 355-space public parking garage at 9th and Shipley Streets, which will make it easier for Delawareans to drive downtown, watch a concert, or have dinner at one of Wilmington’s restaurants. Above the garage, more than 200 apartments are planned with 12,000 square feet in ground-floor retail space.

Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity is building homes on vacant lots on New Street and Kirkwood Street in downtown Dover, investments that are helping revitalize the community through homeownership.

In Seaford, grants are helping support the construction of quality apartment buildings on the Nanticoke River, with boat docks outside. The apartments will help attract more people to live and work in Seaford, a city that is critically important to the economy in western Sussex County.

The Delaware State Housing Authority administers the program.

“We know the DDD program is working to encourage investment in Delaware’s downtowns,” said Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “As we expand the program, we expect even more progress statewide.”

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the designation of downtown Dover as a Downtown Development District is helping the city revitalize its neighborhoods.

“The Downtown Development Districts program has helped people to realize the investment opportunities we have in downtown Dover,” said Mayor Christiansen. “We are currently in the early stages, but this will ultimately make a significant improvement to downtown in both business and residential neighborhoods.”

The Downtown Development Districts Act of 2014 assigns the Office of State Planning Coordination with the responsibility to administer the application process for new Downtown Development Districts. The 2016 Application Form and Guidelines will be available on the OSPC website after noon today, March 16, 2016.

Applications will be reviewed based on the need for the Downtown Development District and its potential positive impacts; the quality of the district plan; and the quality of local incentives. Local governments interested in being designated as a Downtown Development District must submit their applications to the OSPC on or before June 1, 2016.

“I am extremely enthusiastic about this program,” said Constance Holland, State Planning Director at the Office of State Planning Coordination. “I sincerely believe that the Downtown Development District program is the backbone for the revitalization of downtowns throughout Delaware.”

The OSPC and its planners will serve as a resource for any government interested in applying to become a designated Downtown Development District. OSPC planners can provide information about the application form, data from the Census, assistance with mapping, or general advice about the program.

Local governments are encouraged to contact the OSPC early in the process of preparing an application to ensure that a complete application is submitted by June 1.

“The fact that the Governor and legislators recognize how important historic downtowns are to the people of Delaware gives local governments a lot of encouragement,” said Sam Cooper, Mayor of Rehoboth Beach and president of the Delaware League of Local Governments. “This state funding leverages significant private funds to make things happen in our downtowns. Bringing activity back downtown increases vitality, creates jobs and builds community pride – strengthening a whole community.”


Governor Jack Markell to Announce the Delaware Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness: May 4, 2015

Where/When: American Legion Post 2, 835 South Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901 on Monday, May 4, 2015 @ 10:00.

Governor Jack Markell to Announce the Delaware Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015.

At 10:00 AM on Monday, May 4th, at American Legion Post 2, Dover, DE, Governor Markell will gather state and local leaders together to announce the Delaware Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015. This is one of the goals the Governor included in his State of the State Address on January 21, 2015.

The Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness is an initiative begun at the suggestion of First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden and organized under the auspices of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). USICH, in cooperation with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), developed the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015, challenging mayors and community leaders throughout the nation to create new local initiatives to reach the goal of ending veteran homelessness in their communities. Since then, local initiatives have become active across the nation.

In October, 2015, Mayor Christiansen of Dover officially accepted the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness and he formed a working group of local volunteers to begin working toward the goals of outreach to identify homeless veterans; prevention of homelessness by promoting stable housing solution; and diverting veterans from temporary shelters to alternative housing arrangements and supportive services leading to permanent solutions. Mayor Christiansen asked the Vice Chairman of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs to lead the efforts of the working group. In collaboration with HUD, VA, Delaware State Housing Authority, Dover City Planner, Dover Housing Authority, Kent County Levy Court and a host of other federal, state and local agencies as well as local private shelters, veteran service organization, businesses and interested individuals, the Dover Working Group brought together volunteers for a training program based upon strategies being successfully employed in various locations throughout the country. Through that effort the volunteers organized the Dover Veterans Welcome Home Team with the specific goals designed to end veteran homelessness in Dover in 2015. The team meets regularly to review the status of cases for veterans they are assisting.

From this initiative, the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs and the Delaware State Housing Authority in conjunction with the Delaware Joining Forces Coalition have developed the Delaware Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness in 2015 and to assist local communities throughout the state to create their own local goals and initiatives to end veteran homelessness.

On May 4th, Governor Markell will officially challenge state and local leaders to join the effort to end veteran homelessness in 2015.