Downtown Development District Plan Moves To Governor's Desk - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Downtown Development District Plan Moves To Governor's Desk

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DELAWARE - Downtown revitalization are two words that have topped more than a few local government agendas.

Now, Delaware is getting in on the action with a new economic development program.

Building up The First State by fixing what's already there.  That's the plan for Delaware's Downtown development district program.

"It's really important for the development to go when it can to the places where the infrastructure already exists," says Governor Jack Markell.

Under the plan, cities and towns would apply to be designated a Downtown Development District, potentially giving businesses and private investors access to $7-million bond bill, but investors would have to put at least $25,000 into a project before being able to get a 20 percent rebate.

While Delaware has become a popular retirement destination, part of the goal of the development district program is to bring more young people into the state's downtowns.

"We love our retirees," says Governor. Markell, "but we also need a lot of younger people as well because if folks are not working anymore, we need people who are working."

The House passed Senate Bill 191 last week, sending it to the governor's desk.

One concern is gentrification could make life unaffordable for current residents, but according to the Governor, those residents will also have access to the grant money, saying "these opportunities exist for people, even if you want to reinvest in your own home."

The unemployment rate and the number of vacant properties, along with the quality of the plan will be major deciding factors.

The downtown development district program will start with one to three districts, with no more than 15 at a time.

The first three are required to be in municipalities in each of the state's three counties.

The Unemployment rate and the number of vacant properties, along with the quality of the plan will be major deciding factors.

The downtown development district program will start with one to three districts, with no more than 15 at a time.

The first three are required to be in municipalities in each of the state's three counties.

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