Markell Announces Downtown Development District Program Will Exp - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Markell Announces Downtown Development District Program Will Expand

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Dover's historic downtown district which is designated as part of the Downtown Development District Program. (Photo: WBOC) Dover's historic downtown district which is designated as part of the Downtown Development District Program. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del.- Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced Wednesday his plan to accept new applications for the state's Downtown Development District program.

The program uses incentive packaging, grants and rebates to draw businesses to downtown areas across Delaware.

According to a statement by the governor's office, Delaware has spent almost $10 million in program grants to help create more than $160 million in private investment in these districts.

Businesses and organizations like Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity take the different types of incentives and use them to grow and build their organization, creating opportunities for those they build houses for.

"The grants allow us to capitalize on other donations," says Chris Cooper, development director for Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity. "To get the rebates and reinvest those rebates into additional home ownership opportunities right here in downtown Dover."

The program began in January 2015 when Markell designated the downtown areas of Seaford, Dover and Wilmington as Delaware's first three Downtown Development Districts.

"Delaware's downtowns are drivers of economic growth and prosperity, and this program has proven that a small amount of state support can catalyze major private investment to energize key areas," he said in a statement.

Domonique Williams owns The Brunch 'n Lunch in downtown Dover. He said he see potential for other cities across the First State to get involved. with the development program.

"You think of towns like Milford, you think of Middletown [and Smyrna] that's exploding right now," he said. "I think towns like that can really benefit from any kind of program that's going to help push the area forward economically."

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