Municipalities building from the inside-out
The latest funds for the revitalization of Delaware's downtowns were revealed today in front of Broad Creek in Laurel. Delaware has been building from the inside-out in recent years, making a conscious effort to bring business back to the heart of the municipalities of The First State.
The Downtown Development District program announced investments in capital improvement projects in southern Delaware towns including Georgetown, Milford and Laurel.
"It's to help the downtowns get back to where they were before, which is to allow them to prosper where people are living, working and shopping in downtowns," said Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi.
The program, now in its fourth year, offers rebates to homeowners and private businesses to invest in Delaware's downtowns.
"So much of that investment has been going outside of the towns, so it'll enable those towns to kind of reinvent themselves if you will, and create a greater economic opportunity and create better communities a better place to live," says Delaware Governor John Carney.
The backdrop for the announcement was the Villas on Broad Creek, beneficiaries of the program in the past.
"These already constructed phase one townhomes behind us have just added immensely to the look and also to the income of the community in terms of new development," explained Laurel Mayor John Shwed.
Laurel will benefit again this year, with over $400,000 of state money leveraging $2.4 million in investment.
And project developers agree, these funds are needed fuel for development and revitalization in Delaware's downtowns.
"These downtown development district program dollars were, they were the thing. They were what it took us to be able to kind of make economic sense for finishing this project," said project developer Michael Meoli.
This year's $4.3 million investment from the state has leveraged $53 million in private investment statewide.
In the last three years Delaware has leveraged $371 million in total investments with $21 million in rebates in eight districts