State Will Spend $25 Million To Revitalize Dover

Governor Carney and Dover-area legislators on Thursday announced the State’s plan to invest more than $25 million in three priority projects for revitalizing downtown Dover.

“The State of Delaware has a vested interest in the success of downtown Dover, not only because it is our capital city, but because it is where thousands of state employees work and where many would like to live,” said Governor Carney. “The current downtown Dover revitalization plan builds on years of ideas about how to breathe new life into the area, with specific projects laid out by an experienced redeveloper to attract residents and businesses. This is the jumpstart downtown Dover has been waiting for, and we are proud to be a part of it.”

The proposed funding is an investment in the Capital City 2030 strategic plan completed in 2023 for transforming downtown Dover with new residences, businesses, parking and infrastructure. With $10 million proposed in the Fiscal Year 2025 recommended Bond Bill and $15.1 million allocated by the Governor from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the City of Dover and Downtown Dover Partnership will be able to proceed with:

•           Critical water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades necessary to support downtown development, with a projected cost of $1.7 million;

•           A six-story retail and residential building at 120 South Governors Avenue, envisioned to have a community grocery store, daycare and retail space along with 140-180 residential units, with a total projected cost of around $80 million; and

•           A multilevel transportation center between South Governors and South Bradford Street with more than 300 parking spaces, bus stop, bike share and electric vehicle charging, to serve downtown businesses and provide parking for the new retail-residential building across the street, with a projected cost of about $14 million.

Mosaic Development Partners, the team selected by the Downtown Dover Partnership to create the strategic plan, has also been selected by the Partnership to develop the two properties. Mosaic has a track record of successful redevelopment projects, largely around Philadelphia, including at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Colonial Parking Inc. is also a partner in the project.

The state funding will be split between the city and the Partnership and is expected to fully fund the utility work and the parking garage construction. A portion of the state funding will be added to private loans and investment, housing tax credits and grants to finance the retail-residential building. As with revitalization efforts in other cities in recent years, state funding is needed to match and encourage private investment at the early stages. 

“This incredible investment in downtown Dover represents a potential game changer in our ongoing efforts to revitalize the heart of Kent County,” said State Senator Trey Paradee. “On behalf of my constituents, I want to thank Governor John Carney for his unwavering commitment to the Capital City, from the redevelopment projects unlocked by the Downtown Development Districts program to his personal involvement in facilitating a smooth hand-off of the former Wesley College campus to Delaware State University. The investments being announced today will continue that work by bringing new housing, new shops and a new parking garage to downtown Dover.”

“I have been coming to downtown Dover my whole life, and have been advocating for its revitalization on city council and as a legislator,” said State Representative Sean Lynn. “I hope this state investment will help return the community and vitality the area had when I was a kid, while also making it an affordable and diverse place to live.”

“This $25 million investment represents a powerful commitment to our community, effectively addressing so many of our constituents’ most pressing issues – ranging from housing to transportation to infrastructure. Additionally, it’s these sorts of investments that will help us attract talented and sought after workers in the fields of education and healthcare,” said State Representative Kerri Evelyn Harris. “I appreciate all that Governor Carney has done to secure this new funding, which will open doors to new opportunities for individuals of all backgrounds and foster a city that thrives on inclusivity and prosperity.”

“The City of Dover has a solid roadmap for its revitalization, building on efforts the city and its partners have been making over the last several years, and this state funding will make those plans a reality” said Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen. “Combining the Governor’s Avenue projects with the city’s recent selection of a redeveloper for the old post office and construction on the new Family Court building and parking garage, the key building blocks for downtown’s future are coming into place.”

“All I can say is wow! The pieces of the puzzle that form Capital City 2030 are coming together. The plan truly spells out the direction for revitalization of our downtown that is so needed,” said Todd Stonesifer, Downtown Dover Partnership Chair and downtown business owner. “With the Governor’s and Dover-area legislators’ support, I believe the first of many projects are now a reality and the dominoes will begin to fall rapidly toward fulfilling our goal of a truly transformed Capital City!”

Source: State of Delaware