Small Grants Help Revitalize Downtown Dover

New round of funding announced for Downtown Development District program

Dover, DE – Joined by officials from the City of Dover and Kent  County, Governor Markell and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi today recognized the first recipients of small project grants that were made available through the Governor’s Downtown Development District (DDD) initiative. These grants were made available to support key investments of up to $250,000 one of the three current DDDs – Dover, Seaford, and Wilmington.

“The purpose of the DDD initiative is to accelerate revitalization in areas marked by issues like high poverty, high unemployment, and low homeownership,” said Governor Markell. “By leveraging state and local resources with the entrepreneurialism of private investors, the goal is to provide the extra boost needed to make great economic development opportunities a reality. In doing so, we can help turn these distressed areas into vibrant downtowns that attract talented people, innovative small businesses, and long-term residents.”

Today’s announcement, which follows the awarding of $5.6 million for projects investing more than $250,000, recognized John and Karen Marble, and Carmen Hardcastle, for their effort to improve the homeownership inventory in the Dover DDD.  Mr. and Mrs. Marble constructed a new home on a vacant lot on Mary Street in Dover, while Ms. Hardcastle rehabbed an existing home on N. Kirkwood Street.  These two awards are part of $1 million set aside for smaller projects in each of the DDDs.

Governor Markell and Director Ben Addi also announced the launch of the second round of funding for the program, making $8 million available for investments in the previously designated areas of Wilmington, Dover and Seaford.  Funds will be made available to support rehabilitation, expansion or new construction of commercial, industrial, residential (including multi-family), and mixed-use buildings or facilities located within the boundaries of a DDD.

“The City of Dover and Kent County have both been tremendous partners in the DDD effort and we thank them for their ongoing support,” added DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.  “Small projects, like the ones completed by the Marbles and Ms. Hardcastle, help to keep families living in, and contributing to, the economies of our downtown areas. We want to continue to streamline the process so as many people as possible can access these funds to support investment in the downtown areas and encourage growth.”

Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Brad Eaby commented, “I am a firm believer that today’s challenges are best solved through the combined efforts of the government, the private sector and nonprofit organizations.  Our collective assets and wisdom can be harnessed to conquer the task at hand. DDD’s are a prime example of this approach.”

“We are really excited that the first three projects in Dover address three different goals of our district: new housing stock, renovation of existing housing stock, and restoration of an historic building for a new business,” noted Tim Slavin, City of Dover Council President. “And we know this is just the beginning. With the DDD program and the commitment of the City and its partners, we know we have a recipe for long-term success.”

DDD Grant recipient John Marble said, “Downtown Dover has always had a special place in our hearts. Whether it be our leadership and participation in Sidewalk Sunday School or the board of directors for Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity, we feel that participation in these various groups is an excellent way to turn the tide downtown. But most of all, it all boils down to the private sector investing and engaging with the various conflicts and challenges posed.”

DSHA has established two funding set-asides for DDD Grant Awards, one for small projects with an investment of less than $250,000, and another for investors of over $250,000. The Reservation applications for both Large Projects and Small Projects are available online. Projects seeking a Large Project reservation must apply by December 1, 2015. Small Project reservations and applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis as long as funding remains available.

For more information about the Downtown Development District Grant Program, please visit DEStateHousing.com or call 888-363-8808.

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$7 Million Now Available to Revitalize Downtowns

Dover, DE – Governor Jack Markell and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) Director Anas Ben Addi announced today the launch of the Downtown Development Districts (DDD) Grant Program. The DDD Grant is now available for investments in recently designated areas of Wilmington, Dover and Seaford that need the rehabilitation, expansion or new construction of commercial, industrial, residential (including multi-family), and mixed-use buildings or facilities located within the boundaries of a District.

Governor Markell said, “Downtown Development Districts will spur private capital investment in commercial business districts, stimulate job growth, help build a stable community of long term residents by improving housing opportunities, and strengthen our neighborhoods.  The DDD Grant Program offers the opportunity to generate a surge of cultural, real estate, and business activity that could reinvigorate declining areas of our cities.”

DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi added, “After many rounds of outreach and gathering feedback, we are excited to launch this program.  In structuring the grant allocation process, we tried to be fair to all projects and Districts, regardless of the size or location. The $7 million funding will allow us to attract at least $35 million worth of private investments to the designated Districts.”

The DDD Act of 2014 was enacted by General Assembly to spur private investment in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods; improve the commercial vitality of our cities and towns; and, help build a stable community of long-term residents in our downtowns and other neighborhoods.  State and local incentives are available to businesses and district investors who invest within the Downtown Development District boundaries.

Examples of eligible activities include:  Exterior, interior, structural, mechanical or electrical improvements; excavations; grading and paving; installing driveways; landscaping or land improvements; and, demolition.

Developers, homeowners, or business owners interested in investing in the DDDs may apply directly to DSHA. Applications, forms and guidelines may be obtained from DSHA’s website. Projects seeking a Large Project reservation must apply by March 20, 2015. Small Project applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

(Please see the Downtown Development District Fact Sheet for additional information.)

To view the Downtown Development Districts Grant Program, visit the DSHA’s Downtown Development District web page.  Visit the Office of State Planning Coordination website to learn about additional available programs that may be used in combination with the DDD Grant.

About the Delaware State Housing Authority

The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA), formed in 1968, is dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing opportunities and appropriate supportive services to low- and moderate-income Delawareans. In addition to its role as the State’s Housing Finance Agency, DSHA is unique in that it is also serves as a Public Housing Authority and acts as a Community Development and Planning Agency. As a Public Housing Authority, DSHA receives funding from HUD to build, own and operate public housing in Kent and Sussex counties, two of Delaware’s three counties. For more information about the Delaware State Housing Authority, please call: (302) 739-4263 or visit our website at: www.destatehousing.com.

Press Contact:

Christina M. Hardin-Dirksen
Chief of Community Relations, DSHA
Phone:  (302) 739-4263
Email:  Christina@destatehousing.com


Sweet success in Milford as Project Pop-Up business celebrates opening

PATTYRIBBON2 MILFORD, Del. (Dec. 22, 2014) Something tasty just popped up in downtown Milford.

City, state and other local officials celebrated the arrival of Patty Cakes, a participant in this year’s Project Pop-Up program, with a ribbon cutting on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 at the business, which is at 22 S. Walnut St., Milford.

Patty Cakes, owned by Latricia Vicks, offers one-of-a-kind custom wedding cakes and cakes for other events; as well as an assortment of sweets baked on premises, from scratch, including cookies, cupcakes, brownies, cake truffles and other dessert items. The business is the second Milford-based Project Pop-Up participant – following Delaware Branding Company at 19 NW Front Street – to celebrate a grand opening this year.

Project Pop-Up, a joint effort between the Delaware Economic Development Office and Downtown Delaware, provides three months of rent-free commercial space during the holiday season along with the assistance of a business advisor to help launch and grow the business. The program has grown from three participating businesses in 2012 to 15 this year, including nine businesses in an incubator in Wilmington.

“We are proud to once again partner with the City of Milford to bring another promising business to the downtown area. Historic towns like Milford serve as the backbone of our state, and we need vibrant businesses like Patty Cakes to breathe new life into their main streets,” said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “Every large, successful business started somewhere, and we aim to nurture small businesses to put them on that path to prosperity. It appears that Ms. Vicks is well on her way.”

Vicks said she discovered Project Pop-Up at the perfect time, just as she was looking to move her showroom from Dover to a larger location.

“It has been absolutely amazing. The property has been a perfect fit for what we wanted to do. It’s a beautiful space,” Vicks said. “The partnership with DEDO has been wonderful. They’ve set me up with a number of networking opportunities. It’s given us a lot of exposure and press, which has been phenomenal. We have this anticipation of us opening the shop, and I hope we can live up to it.”

Diane Laird, State Coordinator of Downtown Delaware, said Vicks’ business and its line of sweets should do especially well in the heart of Milford.

“Latricia’s product is so unique that people will travel for it. It is these kinds of destination businesses that enlarge the customer base of our small towns,” Laird said. “They bring in people from the broader region which, in turn, increases foot traffic and helps all the businesses downtown.”

Last year, Milford’s Project Pop-Up participant, Milford Massage, Wellness and Yoga, saw business quadruple just months after opening, necessitating a move to a larger facility, where owner Paige Deiner now offers massage, Reiki, yoga and self-development classes.

The openings of Patty Cakes and Delaware Branding Company back an arts-related retail strategy in Milford that includes culinary arts, art galleries, and performing arts.

“From our very first meeting, we knew Patty Cakes and its talented business owner Latricia Vicks was a viable Project Pop-Up candidate,” said Ken Anderson Director, Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support for the Delaware Economic Development Office. “As we continued to vet her business model, review her unique and eloquently designed products, and gaged her long-term commitment to her business, we knew she would be a great addition to all the exciting entrepreneurial activity in the town of Milford. Patty Cakes will be very successful.”

About the Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Economic Development Office is an executive state agency responsible for attracting new investors and businesses to the state, promoting the expansion of existing industry, assisting small and minority-owned businesses, promoting and developing tourism and creating new and improved employment opportunities for all citizens of the State. Visit dedo.delaware.gov.

About Downtown Delaware
Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, provides Delaware’s historic downtowns, communities, and small businesses with tools to revitalize their commercial districts, increase entrepreneurial opportunity, and enhance quality of place. To learn more about the Main Street program, visit www.delawaremainstreet.com.

Contact: 
Peter Bothum
Delaware Economic Development Office
Office: 302-672-6857
Cell: 302-632-6665
Peter.Bothum@delaware.gov


Delaware Branding Company celebrates grand opening in Milford

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From left: Mark Dissinger, of Downtown Milford Inc.; Irv Ambrose, President of Downtown Milford Inc.; Ken Anderson, DEDO’s director of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support; Diane Laird, State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware; Amy Perfetti, co-owner, Delaware Branding Company; Lee Nelson, Executive Director of Downtown Milford Inc.; Mike Perfetti, co-owner, Delaware Branding Company; Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe.

Project Pop-Up participant offers graphic design, body art,
and more in new Front Street spot

MILFORD, Del. (Dec. 3, 2014) – From art galleries to performing arts and, more recently, even culinary arts, Downtown Milford continues to build on an arts-related retail strategy. The arrival of Delaware Branding Company now adds graphic design to support this downtown strategy.

State and local officials joined business owners Mike and Amy Perfetti for a ribbon cutting on Wednesday Dec. 3, outside of the business at 19 NW Front Street.

Delaware Branding Company, a participant in this year’s Project Pop-Up program, will offer graphic design, sign making, body art, and DJ services at its new location.

Project Pop-Up, now in its third year, provides three months of rent-free commercial space during the holiday season along with the assistance of a business advisor to help launch and grow the business. The program has grown from three participating businesses in 2012 to 15 this year, including nine businesses in an incubator in Wilmington.

Delaware Branding Company also sells magnetics, banners, aluminum and wood signs and provides logo design, business card and flier design and van, truck and boat lettering.

“Project Pop-Up not only gives us the chance to move into our own building, it also provides us with the opportunity to connect with the community. A lot of what we do has a personal touch, and being in downtown Milford will allow us to get to know our customer base,” said Mike Perfetti, an award-winning graphic designer. “We can’t thank DEDO and Downtown Delaware enough for this chance of a lifetime.”

Diane Laird, State Coordinator for Downtown Delaware, said that Milford has been an excellent partner in Project Pop-Up.

Laird said she and Ken Anderson, Director of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Support for the Delaware Economic Development Office, have worked together with Milford representatives to match businesses with available properties that support the arts focus in downtown.

“The DBC owners are seasoned business owners who bring significant business experience to Milford,” Anderson said. “It is the only business in a 20-mile radius that offers the unique combination of services that DBC has to offer. They successfully ran a business in Pennsylvania and they expect similar success and growth in their new Milford location.”

In 2005, Perfetti was honored by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) for Outdoor Transit Advertising in 2005.

The Perfettis would love to duplicate the success experienced by several Pop-Up selectees in Milford, Middletown, and Smyrna, who have already expanded their shops due to significant growth and expansion of their customer base. In Milford, Paige Deiner, a 2013 Pop-Up participant in Milford, saw business quadruple just months after opening, necessitating a move to a larger facility where she now offers massage, Reiki, yoga and self-development classes. Karen Gill, owner of Royal Treatments in Smyrna, just expanded into a vacant space adjacent to her Pop-Up shop, which is now home to Smyrna Cards and Gifts.

“The success of the Project Pop-Up businesses in Milford and elsewhere shows that if given the opportunity, Delaware entrepreneurs will rise to the challenge and build successful small businesses,” said Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “Delaware’s economy is strong, with a growing job base, and that is due in large part to our thriving small business sector.”

About the Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Economic Development Office is an executive state agency responsible for attracting new investors and businesses to the state, promoting the expansion of existing industry, assisting small and minority-owned businesses, promoting and developing tourism and creating new and improved employment opportunities for all citizens of the State. Visit dedo.delaware.gov.

About Downtown Delaware
Downtown Delaware, a program of the Delaware Economic Development Office, provides Delaware’s historic downtowns, communities, and small businesses with tools to revitalize their commercial districts, increase entrepreneurial opportunity, and enhance quality of place. To learn more about the Main Street program, visit www.delawaremainstreet.com.

Contact:
Peter Bothum
Delaware Economic Development Office
peter.bothum@delaware.gov
Office: 302-672-6857
Cell: 302-632-6665


Delaware Forest Service helps streetscape project take root in Georgetown

From left, Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator Kyle Hoyd joins Georgetown Towm Manager Eugene Dvornick and DFS urban forester Kesha Braunskill outside the town hall building along East Market Street, where 18 new trees were planted as part of a $37,000 streetscape improvement project.
From left, Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator Kyle Hoyd joins Georgetown Town Manager Eugene Dvornick and DFS urban forester Kesha Braunskill outside the town hall building along East Market Street, where 18 new trees were planted as part of a $37,000 streetscape improvement project.

The Delaware Forest Service (DFS) funded a downtown streetscape improvement and tree planting project in the Town of Georgetown, highlighted by this week’s planting of 18 new cherry and lilac trees along East Market Street near the Sussex County Courthouse. Total cost of the project was estimated at $37,000. The DFS’ Urban and Community Forestry Streetscape Program – which offers a 50-50 match to recipients – provided $17,000, which Georgetown officials matched with almost $20,000 in project expenses and in-kind services.

In the first phase of the project,  Georgetown’s Department of Public Works spent two weeks removing the old trees, many of which were either poorly adapted to the sites or suffered from disease or other environmental stress. During that time, workers also conducted extensive excavation of the existing soil in the tree pits,  which was eventually replaced with a special 50-50 mix of topsoil and organic matter to help ensure survivability.

The second phase – the actual tree planting – took place under sunny skies this week. Kyle Hoyd and Kesha Braunskill of the DFS’ Urban and Community Forestry Program supervised the work by Bridgeville’s Nanticoke Nursery and Landscaping, which was awarded the contract to provide the soil, supply the new trees, and complete the project according to Forest Service specifications. A total of 18 trees – nine Okame cherry trees and nine Japanese Ivory Silk Lilac trees – were planted in the newly-excavated sites. These two species, though not native to Delaware, were selected for planting by forestry officials for their high tolerance to environmental stresses common to urban areas and the fact that they are unlikely to outgrow the site constraints. The cherry and lilac trees will also provide beauty and visual appeal to the downtown area, providing an attractive climate for businesses and residents alike.

From left, Kyle Hoyd and Kesha Braunskill of the Delaware Forest Service's urban and community forestry program carefully remove the wire surrounding a new lilac tree planted as part of the downtown streetscape improvement project for Georgetown's East Market Street area.
From left, Kyle Hoyd and Kesha Braunskill of the Delaware Forest Service’s urban and community forestry program carefully remove the wire mesh surrounding a new lilac tree planted as part of the downtown streetscape improvement project for Georgetown’s East Market Street area.

From left, the Delaware Forest Service's Kyle Hoyd and Kesha Braunskill discuss the Georgetown East Market Street improvement project with Mike Milligan of Bridgeville's Nanticoke Nursery and Landscaping, which provided the new trees and completed the planting operation.
From left, the Delaware Forest Service’s Kyle Hoyd and Kesha Braunskill discuss the Georgetown East Market Street improvement project with Mike Milligan of Bridgeville’s Nanticoke Nursery and Landscaping, which provided the new trees and completed the planting operation.

From left, Kesha Braunskill and Kyle Hoyd of the Delaware Forest Service's urban and community forestry program, inspect a new lilac tree planted outside the Sussex County Courthouse on Georgetown's East Market Street. The $37,000 streetscape improvement project was a cooperative effort between town officials and forestry staff that will enhance and beautify the downtown area.
From left, Kesha Braunskill and Kyle Hoyd of the Delaware Forest Service’s urban and community forestry program inspect a new lilac tree that was planted outside the Sussex County Courthouse on Georgetown’s East Market Street. The $37,000 streetscape improvement project was a cooperative effort between town officials and the state’s forestry program that seeks to enhance and beautify the downtown area.

From left, Delaware Forest Service urban foresters Kesha Braunskill and Kyle Hoyd discuss the tree planting project with Mike Milligan of Bridgeville's Nanticoke Nursery and Landscaping, which performed the work and supplied the new trees.
From left, Delaware Forest Service urban foresters Kesha Braunskill and Kyle Hoyd discuss Georgetown’s East Market Street civic improvement project with Mike Milligan of Bridgeville’s Nanticoke Nursery and Landscaping, which performed the work and supplied the trees.

Across from Georgetown's Sussex County Courthouse building, Kyle Hoyd of the Delaware Forest Service prepares a new lilac tree for planting as part of a $37,000 streetscape improvement project made possible by an urban and community forestry grant.
Across from Georgetown’s Sussex County Courthouse, Kyle Hoyd of the Delaware Forest Service prepares a new lilac tree for planting as part of a $37,000 streetscape improvement project that was partially funded by an urban and community forestry grant.

The final phase – installation of new protective tree grates – is expected to take place by mid-November. The existing iron grates, which suffered past damage by motor vehicles or were modified to accomodate the previously over-sized trees – will be replaced at the time the new ones are installed.

For more information, contact: Kyle Hoyd, Urban and Community Forestry Program Coordinator, Delaware Forest Service, 302-698-4578. Email: kyle.hoyd@delaware.gov.