Dover gets more money for revitalization

 

DOVER — Delaware’s capital city, along with Seaford and Wilmington, will receive additional funding from Delaware’s Downtown Development Districts (DDD) program.

“We’re excited,” Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said. “These projects are really going to help us revitalize downtown Dover.”

Delaware State Housing Authority and Gov. Jack Markell announced Tuesday that 11 projects have been selected to receive $4 million in DDD funding. Five of those projects were awarded to Dover, which will receive $1,470,396 from the DDD funding.

Some of the projects include new home construction on New Street and Reed Street, and medical offices on North Street.

The new grants will leverage $45 million in private investment in commercial and residential development in all three municipalities.

“Our main key is having home occupancy in downtown Dover,” Mayor Christiansen said. “That’s our goal and we’re continuing to push forward to make that happen for the residents in Dover.”

Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity will receive $85,165 to build five single-family homes on North New Street in downtown Dover.

The homes will be sold to low-income homebuyers.

“We’re working to help improve the downtown area,” said Jonathon Gallo, executive director of Central Delaware Habitat. “We want to build affordable homes to help increase homeownership.”

Last year Central Habitat received $75,150 from the DDD program, which helped build five affordable homes for low-income individuals on Kirkwood Street in Dover.

DSHA will initiate another DDD funding round this spring. The round will open on March 1, with applications due by May 15.

“We’re still striving for our goal,” Mr. Gallo said. “We want to continue to make those improvements to the downtown areas, as much as we can.”

Dover-based Halpern Family Property Investment LP will receive $614,000 to build a four-story mixed used building at 129 and 131 South Bradford Street in Dover.

Also Dover-based Faithwork, LLC will receive $182,820 to build a residential group home and $492,000 medical office buildings at 655 W. North Street in Dover.

The DDD program, administered by the Delaware State Housing Authority, was created by legislation proposed by Gov. Markell and passed unanimously in May 2014 by the General Assembly.

In January 2015, Gov. Markell designated the downtown areas of Seaford, Dover and Wilmington as Delaware’s first three Downtown Development Districts.

In the first funding round, announced last April, a $5.6 million investment by the state leveraged $114 million in private investment in all three counties.

Applicants who receive DDD grants are eligible for up to 20 percent of their construction costs in the form of a rebate. Grants are awarded only when projects are complete.

“More Delawareans want to live and work in urban areas, so this kind of revitalization of our cities will drive future economic growth,” Gov. Markell said. “We’re seeing great progress.”

MauTiste Investment Group, which is based in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, will receive $96,411 to build three duplexes on Reed and South Kirkwood streets.

Michael Maupin, managing director of MauTiste Investment Group, said the project will help increase homeownership in downtown Dover.

“That’s our mission,” Mr. Maupin said. “We want to provide quality affordable housing opportunities for individuals and families within the communities within which they work.”

Mr. Maupin said Dover was the ideal destination after it was recommended to him by Dover’s assistant city manager Kirby Hudson.

“Previously he was city manager in Coatesville, so we know each other from that,” Mr. Maupin said.

“He knows that the type of work that we have done. He gave me a call and said this fits your development model and highlighted the grant funding.”

Mr. Maulin said the increased effort to improve homeownership by the city is what attracted him to apply for the DDD grants.

“It’s tough to receive funding for projects like these,” Mr. Maulin said. “It makes it prohibitive to do, but in this case how it’s being administrated is what we thought was great, so we just went for it.”

“After I spent time in Dover I was quite impressed with what I saw. Everyone in Dover was great and was willing to work with us. It has been quite a wonderful experience.”

Mayor Christiansen agrees.

“I think it’s a win-win for everyone.,” Mayor Christiansen said. “We’re here to do business, which will help us moving forward. I hope the rest of the citizens are excited by our efforts as well.”

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