Wells Fargo foundation awards $750,000 grant for Dover restoration plan

Steering Member Committee members and government officials including Gov. Jack Markell and Mayor Robin Christiansen accepted a check for $750,000 to implement the Restoring Central Dover Plan, a five-year strategy to revitalize downtown Dover. (Delaware State News photo by Ashton Brown)

Steering Member Committee members and government officials including Gov. Jack Markell and Mayor Robin Christiansen accepted a check for $750,000 to implement the Restoring Central Dover Plan, a five-year strategy to revitalize downtown Dover. (Delaware State News photo by Ashton Brown)

DOVER –– Monday afternoon brought in a memorable moment for many Dover residents –– the announcement of a $750,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation to fund the Restoring Central Dover Plan.

“Our sole focus at the Wells Fargo Foundation is to fund and support neighborhood revitalization, and that relies on a strong partnership between the private and public sectors, government officials, and most importantly, the community,” Greg Redden, regional president of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, said at the formal announcement.

The plan, led by a 35-member Steering Committee, was released last fall. It’s a five-year strategy to bring “positive change” to Dover. Those positive changes include aspects such as affordable housing, improved safety, economic development, youth services and increased community engagement.

Wells Fargo was also responsible for getting the plan off the ground when it awarded a grant to fund the planning process about two years ago.

The new grant will now allow that plan to be implemented using short-term, incremental strategies to develop long-term change, according to officials.

The location downtown that is included in the plan is made up of 75 blocks, totaling about 393 acres.

More than 81 percent of the residents of the area are renters who spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on rent. It’s also an area with a crime rate nearly five times higher than the City of Dover as a whole. So, increased affordable housing and improved public safety will be two of the first issues addressed as the plan is implemented.

“These people here are going to come through to show that Restoring Central Dover is more than a slogan, label or idea. It’s going to be a reality,” Gov. Jack Markell said at the announcement.

Prior to the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation’s grant for the plan, the organization had made no investments in Delaware south of Wilmington.

“We want to thank Wells Fargo for giving us this opportunity to make change, give hope and unite Dover to become the best it can be,” said Chanda Jackson, a member of the Steering Committee.

To achieve the goals laid out in the Plan, the Steering Committee is on a search to hire a full-time Neighborhood Revitalization coordinator and community organizer.

Some of the organizations working together on the plan are Capital School District, the CenDel Foundation, the City of Dover, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Greater Kent Committee, the National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor (NCALL), Wesley College and local churches.

“Aside from the organizations involved, the most important part of this is the wonderful people of Dover who say, ‘central Dover is our responsibility,’” Gov. Markell said.

More information about Restoring Central Dover can be found online at www.ncall.org/community-impact/restoring-central-dover/

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment