The key to success will be encouraging investors to commit their time and money to downtown Dover, said Dover City Manager Scott Koenig.
That includes not only Loockerman Street, but also side streets to the north and south, he
"We're in a transition," Koenig
"There's been investment in parts of the downtown, such as the library, Wesley College
and the new courthouse, but these are large scale projects."
Those projects have meant a combined investment of almost $111 million by the city, Wesley College
and Kent County.
But other types of investment are needed, Koenig
"There is significant need for medium- and small-scale development," he
"We need to run the gamut of all kinds of downtown redevelopment.
There already has been significant public investment, but there still is room for significant improvement."
That includes projects outside the immediate downtown area, such as solving the flooding problem along Water Street, which could cost up to $15 million; replacing aging water lines; and burying utility lines along Division Street to improve the visual aesthetics of the roadway.
"These are expensive projects, in some cases requiring public investment that needs to happen over time," Koenig
This was somewhat successful, garnering interest for about 20 projects, Koenig
"It would be great if we had a large number of people investing in the program," he
While the city would welcome commercial redevelopment, Koenig
said housing also cannot be overlooked when it comes to establishing a Downtown Development District.
"We need to strike a balance between business and housing stock that people can afford to live in," he
"What we want to do is improve the quality of our building stock downtown, with new, modern buildings that meet codes, as well as trying to meet the needs for different levels of affordable housing.
What we don't want to do is convert it to all-commercial districts and move all the people living there out."
Having people live within a short distance of where they work is an appealing scenario, Koenig
"For a city the size of Dover, the potential of having people living there and being able to walk to work is attractive," he
New commercial development and improvements to the downtown housing supply also will help deter crime, giving police a chance to focus their efforts elsewhere, Koenig