2012 proved to be a crucial year in the Downtown Dover Partnership's revitalization efforts as seven businesses opened up and the city broke ground on the $3 million Loockerman Way Plaza and North Street area improvements project to create a pedestrian-friendly corridor to the legislative district.
In addition, the Downtown Dover Partnership conducted building renovations to 22-24 W. Loockerman Street in order to crease "two first-class retail spaces," Neaton said. The partnership's annual report for 2012 listed 22-24 Loockerman St. as a $257,850 property amongst its $3.58 million in total real estate holdings.
And the new businesses opening their doors were proof that interest in opening downtown had increased amongst local merchants, he said.
"Downtown Dover will remember the year of 2012 as the keystone year in the revitalization efforts of downtown as I told the Main Street Program folks from [the state of] Wyoming," Neaton said. The Wyoming folks came to Dover last spring as they prepared for the National Main Streets Conference.
Neaton and Downtown Dover Partnership Board of Directors President Gregory Moore will highlight these accomplishments and others when they present their 2012 annual report to Dover City Council on Monday night.
Loockerman Way Plaza added brick walkways and 36 parking spaces downtown, and North Street got new pavement, while crews buried cables and eliminated the telephone poles, Neaton said. The city also consolidated half a dozen small parking lots into one parking lot with 175 parking spots and two entrances/exits on North Street as part of the $3 million project paid for with funding from the Delaware General Assembly's 2011l bond bill.
"It's really made a huge difference," said Neaton, who also directs the Dover Economic Development Office. "Loockerman Way Plaza will provide a stronger pedestrian connection between Loockerman and North streets. It looks like a welcoming street."
In addition, the bulk of construction of Bay Developers Inc.'s Bayard Plaza off West Loockerman and South Governors Avenue was completed and the certificate of occupancy was granted, Neaton said. The new Bayard Pharmacy in the plaza was scheduled to open in early February.
While things were looking up, Neaton said there was more work yet to be done.
"We still have vacant buildings and buildings that need to be brought up to code with the landlords so we can get tenants in those buildings," he said. "It's an ongoing project to revitalize downtown. But we feel we have laid the groundwork with North Street, Bayard Plaza, Lookerman Way and the improvement of 22-24 Loockerman."
IF YOU GO
WHO Dover City Council
WHAT Regular meeting
WHEN 7:30 p.m. Monday
WHERE City Hall, 15 Loockerman Plaza, Dover
Page 2 of 2 - CONTACT Office of the City Clerk, (302) 736-7008. Also, the Downtown Dover Partnership’s 2012 annual report can be downloaded at www.downtowndoverpartnership.com.