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By Arshon Howard | Delaware State News | November 23, 2014
DOVER - Restoring Central Dover carries a "very high price tag" and will take a long time to implement, the city manager said Wednesday.
But the result, he and other officials believe, will justify the expenditure in time and money.
The Steering Committee for Restoring Central Dover and the National Council on Agricultural Life and Labor unveiled its revitalization plan for the central Dover area Wednesday afternoon.
The area defined in the initiative extends north on State and West streets from Hope Street to William Street. It also spreads west between North Street and Forrest Avenue to Saulsbury Road. Some of the goals in the $33 million plan are increasing public safety, engaging the youths in the community, strengthening existing housing, supporting new development and improving transportation infrastructure.
The plan is a culmination of 12 months of community surveying, public comments, open houses, interviews, focus groups, interactive exercises, and mapping to help improve affordable housing, economic development and neighborhood buildings in central Dover.
"The plan will be different because of its timing and the broad range of actions identified in the plan," said Scott Koenig, city manager. "When you look at $33 million in implementation, it's a large number, but the question is: If we don't implement this, then how much is it going to cost the city?"
Each of the strategies has short-term, intermediate and long-term goals, which will help the project move forward in the future, said Mr. Koenig.
"It gives us a chance to show council and the community a step by step process of what's to come," Mr. Koenig said.
"The problem that we run into at times is that we may have a project with a very high price tag and it takes a long time for it to get implemented."
"It doesn't give us a chance to build that community momentum that we need to go to the next project, but now we have short term goals we can look to accomplish in a timely manner."
Joe Myer, chairman of Restoring Central Dover, said an Implementation Grant application was submitted to the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation on Oct. 24 for 5-year funding to move these strategies forward.
"We're applying for resources, partnering with the city to look for new policies and ordinances to help accomplish this," Mr. Myer said. "We're applying for an implementation grant for $750,000. It doesn't sound like much when dealing with 33 million, but it could give us the infrastructure to help us have an full-time implementation coordinator to help get these projects off of the ground."
Other resources will be applied for through the Delaware State Housing Authority, other state resources, as well as those from financial institutions and foundations.
Help may also come from Dover if it's selected for the Downtown Development District designation, as the Restoring Central Dover plan was a centerpiece for the city's application to the state.
The planning process was designed to be both data-driven and people driven, said Mr. Myer.
"We took in consideration of the residents living in this community," Mr. Myer said.
"There was more public engagement that I can remember for any type of planning setting that I seen in a long time."
A resident perception survey, which collected the concerns of residents across all of the Central Dover neighborhoods was collected during an open house in May.
Community volunteers that administered them received 224 completed surveys, which represented 18 percent of the household in Central Dover.
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