Three Cities Selected For Downtown Development Districts - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Three Cities Selected For Downtown Development Districts

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DOVER, Del.- Change is coming to a select three cities in Delaware. Governor Jack Markell announced Sunday he had chosen Dover, Seaford and Wilmington to have the state's first three downtown development districts.

Nine towns applied for the Development District Program, and Markell chose one from each county. The program is supposed to help revitalize their downtowns. Last year, the General Assembly set aside $7 million for it. Now Dover, Seaford and Wilmington have the green light to push forward projects they have in the works.

Janaid Kareem has owned his barbershop in downtown Dover for almost 25 years. His business has grown but unfortunately he can't say the same for the area.

"There hasn't been too much change," said Kareem. "But we need it though"

He is hopeful good change will come now that Dover is a part of the program.

"If we can see some of those dollars, if some of those dollars actually hit Loockerman Street I think it'll be a big plus."

Mayor Robin Christiansen knows this is big news for the city.

"It allows us to have funding and allows us to move forward with projects that are going to be beneficial to the downtown area."

That includes projects like the Restoring Central Dover Plan. The plan aims to address areas like affordable housing, small business development, public safety and more.

Seaford will use the development district money to fix up older parts of downtown, according to Mayor David Genshaw. He says the first step is getting in contact with investors to help push the projects forward.

Sara Lee Thomas has owned Fantasy Hair Salon in downtown Seaford for 44 years.

"It's better than christmas," said Thomas. "I didn't think it would happen"

She too has big hopes for the program.

"I hope that businesses will come downtown," said Thomas. "Really I'm not hoping for a big box store I know that's not happening. But if we could just get some of our small retail business back downtown."

Both Mayor Christiansen and Mayor Genshaw say they are unsure about exactly how much money their city will receive, They are both hopeful within the next few months a few projects will be off the ground.

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