DOVER, Del.- Downtown Dover has a new leader. And his first day on the job was Monday.
Lou Colon is taking over as executive director of the Downtown Dover Partnership. He faces the challenge of pushing forward the revitalization of the area. It's a process that is under way but still has a way to go.
Colon comes to Dover after many years in Harrisburg, Pa., a capital city with perhaps more challenging issues than any other in the country. Looking around Delaware's capital city, and its downtown in particular, Colon sees assets and potential.
"We have plenty of parking. We have relationships with the hospital and college - and not too overlook the relationship city hall, state government and county government."
But a quick glance around Loockerman Street shows many vacant storefronts. Mayor Carleton Carey said addressing that is a necessity.
"It takes people to create interest for businesses to come downtown," Carey said. "So, with this new apartment building with 48 apartments in it, that's going to make a difference."
That building has been under construction at the corner of Loockerman St. and Governors Ave. for many months. It is now ready for people to move in. And there's a grand opening this week for the pharmacy that occupies its first floor.
"You work with the private sector who has an idea for a business and the owners of the buildings to get the two matched up together," said Colon.
Carey says having the Delaware EZ-Pass offices move onto Loockerman and bring 60 employees will make a difference, too. There's also a split between the east and west parts of downtown. The west part has a much larger crime problem. Colon is confident there are things that can bring change to the area, if slowly.
In the meantime, he's looking at growth of the downtown as a whole.
"Growth is imminent," Colon said. "Our economy had a downturn. Our real estate market had a downturn. For the areas it was slow to hit, it is just as slow to recover."
Monday, May 20 2013 9:13 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:13:36 GMT
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