Dover officials encourage more home ownership

DOVER— Last year, 4th District Councilmen Roy Sudler Jr. and David Anderson focused on gathering the concerns and issues of local residents.

This year, they hope to focus on getting results.

“We want to make our communities safe,” Mr. Sudler said. “I’m focused on tackling those issues that people aren’t willing to do.”

Councilman Roy Sudler Jr.

Councilman Roy Sudler Jr.

The two councilmen along with other city officials updated about 30 residents on various topics during the district’s town hall meeting on Tuesday night at Union Missionary Baptist Church in Dover.

Topics ranged from safety issues to increasing home ownership within the city.

Last year, city officials joined residents as they walked around Lincoln Park and the Dover Housing Authority’s Simon Circle neighborhood.

They observed problems that ranged from broken curbs, sinking streets and violence within the communities.

Rep. Sean Lynn, D-Dover, said he’s happy that some of those issues have since been resolved.

“We walked through this neighborhood last summer and were able to see some of the issues that plagued the community,” he said.

“I took a lot of those issues to heart because I believe it starts with the infrastructure of the neighborhoods and together we were able to repave the neighborhood to get it where it needs to be.”

Dover Police Master Cpl. Jeff Davis also updated residents on the area’s criminal activity since March.

“Unfortunately, there was shooting that happened around the corner (Tuesday) and we’re still investigating it,” Cpl. Davis said. “But there were nine complaints in March and three of them dealt with a gun.”

City Manager Scott Koenig said public safety continues to be a concern for the city.

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Scott Koenig

“In some people’s eyes Dover may seem like a small town, but we are being challenged by what large cities deal with like drugs, guns and violence,” Mr. Koenig said.

“All of those things are having an effect on neighborhoods across the city. It’s requiring significant resources and danger and addressing issues. “

Ann Marie Townshend, the city’s planner and community development director, informed residents about taking advantage of tax credits and grants.

She also talked about how to become homeowners, which Mayor Robin Christiansen said is vital for the city moving forward.

“Eighty-two percent of the properties in downtown Dover are rental properties,” Mayor Christiansen said. “It’s time that we take our city back and that is through homeownership.

“When you have people that have a vested interest in their property they have an automatic interest in the community,” he added.

He urged residents to take responsibility to help restore the city.

“We need the people to help out as much as they can,” Mayor Christiansen said. “If you see something wrong, report it.

“You have that responsibility because a man or a woman that doesn’t stick up for their family or home is not much of man or woman in my book and now it’s the time for us to take back our city.”

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