$17 Million Awarded to Downtown Development District Projects in - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

$17 Million Awarded to Downtown Development District Projects in Delaware

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MILFORD, Del.- Eight towns in the First State are part of the Downtown Development District (DDD) Program, and 16 projects in those towns have new funds to turn downtown revitalization dreams into reality.

On Tuesday, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced that those 16 projects were the recipients of nearly $4 million, making the DDD funds round out at $17.7 million. The money is awarded to developers in grants after all the work is complete, matching up to 20 percent in construction costs. Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi says the state investment has been worth the risk.

"It's the chicken or the egg," he told WBOC. "Do you bring investors first or do you need people to come first to shop when these businesses are open?"

"For each dollar that we've committed, we are getting about $19 more in private leverage," he goes on to say.

Dan and Rhonda Bond bought the old Lou's Bootery and are also part of the program. They say it help gets big projects like their's off the ground.

"It helps us and it helps the other projects for all of us to pitch in," Dan Bond said. "It's a good public-private partnership." 

The old bank building in downtown Milford will be turned into a new Touch of Italy restaurant, expected to be done in April. 

Homeowners and small businesses are eligible for the grants too, as the program is designed to create more residential and commercial space--the former Lou's Bootery will have both. Representative Harvey Kenton--who grew up in Milford--spoke highly of the program.

"This is adding more icing onto the cake," he said. "In the next 10-15 years, Milford is going to be a place for everyone to come see and want to live here."

In addition to Milford, other Downtown Development District programs include Laurel, Georgetown, Seaford, Harrington, Smyrna, Dover and Wilmington. 

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