Clayton joins Downtown Development District program

DOVER — Gov. John Carney on Monday announced four new municipalities have joined a state program aimed at spurring development in downtown areas by offering financial incentives.

The aptly named Downtown Development District designation has been awarded to Clayton, Delaware City, Middletown and New Castle.

Investors who make qualified improvements to residential, commercial or industrial properties may qualify for state and local incentives, including a rebate of up to 20 percent of eligible costs upon completion of the project.

“The Downtown Development Districts program is already bringing significant private investment to the eight currently designated cities and towns, and I am thrilled to welcome these four new designations to the program,” Gov. Carney said in a statement. “This expansion continues our commitment to revitalizing our downtown business districts and surrounding neighborhoods.”

Downtown Development Districts were established in 2014, with the first awards announced in 2015.
In addition to the four municipalities revealed Monday, Dover, Georgetown, Harrington, Laurel, Milford, Seaford, Smyrna and Wilmington are part of the program.

To date, $31.6 million in rebates through the program has leveraged $597 million in private investment in those designated downtown districts, according to the state.

The program is administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority, which will launch a new funding round for large projects in each of the districts in October. Approximately $8 million in funding will be available for projects statewide.

Applications to fund small projects are accepted on a rolling basis.
“This Downtown Development Districts designation provides a wonderful opportunity for the Town of Clayton to jump start our revitalization,” Clayton Vice Mayor Alex Dias said in a statement. “By participating in the program, our downtown is certain to prosper, maintain its character, and be the center of our community.”

Applications were scored based on the town or city’s need for program incentives, the jurisdiction’s downtown revitalization plan and the creativity of its incentive package, officials said.

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