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.