Governor Announces Downtown Development District Grant Funding Awards

Photos from events

More than $5M in grant funding will leverage over $114M in private investments

Wilmington, DE – Downtown revitalization efforts in Seaford, Dover and Wilmington will soon get a boost, as Governor Jack Markell today announced the recipients of the Delaware’s inaugural round of Downtown Development District (DDD) Grants. A total of 13 projects in DDDs statewide have been selected to receive $5.6 million in funding.  The state’s $5.6 million is expected to leverage more than $114 million in private investment in a variety of new development projects.

Full list of recipients available here

“The Downtown Development Districts program was designed to leverage private money to spur development in Delaware’s downtowns and I am pleased to see those efforts are starting to bear fruit in a big way,” said Governor Markell. “The grants announced today will help fund the development of a variety of projects, ranging from an affordable senior housing facility to a 200-unit apartment building to a marina. Most importantly, using less than $6 million in state money, the DDD Grants will leverage more than $100 million in private investment when these projects are completed. Such investments in our downtowns are key to boosting the economy.”DDD

The DDD program was created by legislation proposed by the Governor and passed unanimously by the General Assembly last year. In January, Governor Markell designated the downtown areas of Seaford, Dover, and Wilmington as Delaware’s first three Downtown Development Districts.

To incentivize development in these areas, applicants receiving DDD Grants will receive up to 20 percent of their construction costs in the form of a rebate. To minimize the risk to state money, DDD Grants may only be awarded when projects are completed. The grants will be administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA).

As part of the program, additional State and local incentives were made available to businesses and district investors who invest within the Downtown Development District boundaries.

“Sixteen applications were received requesting nearly $8M in funding,” added DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi.  “While we were unable to fund them all in this round, it is very encouraging to see that there is such a large interest and we look forward to working with all our partners to continue our work revitalizing downtown areas.”

Comments from Successful Applicants:

“Being able to participate in the DDD grant process has enabled our organization to push forward with our project and help jumpstart the transformation of the City of Seaford’s downtown business district,” said David Perlmutter, Managing Member of the Residences at River Place, which will be located in Seaford.DDD

“We are so thankful that residential development was included in the DDD program. This rebate will allow Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity to continue our work in downtown Dover as we reinvest it in additional homes which allow us to transform lives and neighborhoods,” said Jocelyn Tice, Executive Director of CDHFH.

“I am very much appreciative to have received the Downtown Development District Grant,” said Joseph Petrosky of G & J Holdings LLC, another successful Dover applicant. “The grant will enable us to finance the improvements necessary to prepare our property for future tenants, adding jobs and foot traffic to the downtown area. I am hopeful this renovation will lead the way for future investment in downtown Dover.”

“This is terrific news,” said Brother Ronald Giannone, executive director of Ministry of Caring, Inc., one of ten successful applications in the City of Wilmington. “Former Mayor Jim Baker, who is one of Ministry of Caring’s board members and a long-time resident of the city, was shocked to know that Sacred Heart Village II project, which is being built on the East Side, hit so much granite that it has taken close to five months to remove, at an expense that has reached over $400,000. Sadly the meter is still ticking, and hopefully will soon come to an end. This award from DSHA will cover an expense that was impossible to anticipate.  We are most grateful to DSHA, not only for this grant, but for their commitment to building quality and affordable housing for seniors.  Governor Markell and DSHA should be commended for making quality housing a priority in the State of Delaware, especially for the poor and marginalized seniors.”


Governor Launches Pathways to Prosperity Initiative for Delaware Students

Photos from today’s event

More than $1 million in grant funding to support schools offering intensive training and credentials in key industries

Newark, DE – School districts will have access to programs that prepare high school students to thrive in growing industries under a statewide effort announced by Governor Markell today. Initially previewed in the Governor’s State of the State address, the Pathways to Prosperity initiative will establish partnerships with Delaware employers, universities, and school districts to prepare students for a bright future in high-demand fields and careers. Markell said the state is dedicating more than $1 million of its federal career and technical education funding over the next year to offer school districts grants to defray the cost of providing these programs.

Through this effort, students will take hundreds of hours of specialized instruction and hands-on training. They will have the opportunity to graduate with industry-recognized certificates and with college credits for courses that are most relevant to those industries, giving them a head start on getting a job and earning a degree.PathwaystoProsperity

“Today, we take an important step toward ensuring that Delaware will be one of those places where students of today and of generations to come will enter the workforce fully armed with the skills to compete for good jobs, develop new innovations, and make the most of their extraordinary talents,” said Markell, who thanked business leaders, including Delaware Workforce Investment Board Chair and Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge, for their commitment to offering Delaware students the most relevant training.

The Governor spoke at the Delmarva Power Conference Center where leaders from the business and education community gathered at a Pathways to Prosperity Conference. School district representatives had the opportunity to ask questions of industry leaders, college representatives, and government officials about the process of starting these programs.

The co-leader of the national Pathways to Prosperity Network at Harvard University, Bob Schwartz, also spoke about national and state workforce needs and the importance of more opportunities like these for students to find a path to a successful career in industries with many available jobs.

“We have long known that educational attainment is tied to career success,” said Schwartz. “What’s different now is that it’s no longer simply about how much education you get, but specifically whether you are learning the right skills. The types of career and technical education programs we’re discussing today are increasingly valuable.”

Program Details

This fall, the state will launch pathways statewide in information technology and computer science in partnership with, as well as in the culinary arts and hospitality industries in partnership with the Delaware Restaurant Association. The following year, the Department of Education will expand the network to include two more of the state’s fastest growing industries – financial services and healthcare.PathwaystoProsperity

Markell said the state is already seeing that this model can work when employers work with education leaders to develop the programs. He cited the manufacturing pathway started last fall when Colonial and New Castle County Vo-tech School Districts partnered with Delaware Tech and the Delaware Manufacturing Association. More than 30 juniors in New Castle County are spending part of each week at Delaware Tech. They learn math and other skills most important for that industry and work with equipment. Those students are already making great progress and, this summer, they’ll get paid internships at Delaware companies like Agilent Technologies, PPG, Kuehne and Siemens.

“The manufacturing program has demonstrated the power of partnering our business community and college with school districts to create a curriculum that engages students in learning skills most valued in the economy,” said Delaware Tech President Mark Brainard. “Delaware Tech has an important role in these efforts given our work with industry to shape our course offerings. We look forward to taking part in other pathways so that students in more fields receive the most beneficial classroom instruction and hands-on training opportunities to prepare them for jobs in growing industries.”

Markell announced today that the Department of Education is making available more than $500,000 this spring to support school districts that adopt these programs. An additional $500,000 will be make available in the fall to fund programs for the following school year. Districts will be able to use that funding in a variety of ways to support students and staff, and to provide the services and materials required to offer courses and hands-on training opportunities.

The Department is providing curriculum support for each pathway program and has secured articulation agreements with Delaware colleges to ensure that students who complete a program will be eligible for college credit at one or more institutions of higher education.

The second half of today’s conference is focused on giving school district representatives the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the individual programs. More information on each program and funding applications for districts are available on the Department of Education’s website at

“As our world is transformed by new technology, jobs of the past are now outsourced to other countries or handled by machines. However, incredible opportunities exist for those who can use that technology and for those whose abilities fit with the changing needs of growing industries,” said Markell. “Every Delaware student must have access to an education that best prepares him or her for this new era. That’s why we are here today.”