Dover residents are invited to give their views on a plan to help revitalize the central Dover area.
The Restoring Central Dover planning initiative will kick off new activities Friday, beginning a seven-day effort publicize ideas and information gathered as part of a plan to revitalize the downtown area and its environs.
The Open House will be held May 2 and May 3 and May 6 to May 10 in the Bayard Plaza Community Room at 206 W. Loockerman St., and will wrap up with a street fair on New Street, between Loockerman and Division streets on May 10.
The Restoring Central Dover project focuses on helping people find reasonably priced places to live, economic development, social services and neighborhood building, said Joe Myer, executive director of NCALL Research, a locally-based non-profit specializing in affordable housing.
Over the past six months, the project has gathered data and information via community, land-use, and physical condition surveys as well as interviews with area residents, Myer said.
A key component of the Open House will be input from people living in the areas affected by the project, which is bounded by Williams Street in the north, State Street in the east, Hope Street in the south and West and Queen streets on the west. A western extension of the study area runs along Route 8 in the north and North Street in the south, stretching to Saulsbury Road.
“They’ll be learning what’s been done so far, and having the opportunity to make input. That’s really what we’re looking for,” he said.
“It showcases the work done to date, and there will be five or six interactive activities that people will be able to take part in to help develop priorities.”
One of those activities will be asking people to imagine they’re in charge of the city budget and asking what areas most need the money, he said.
People also will get the chance to anonymously discuss any issues and problems in their areas, Myer said.
Information gathered during the Open House will be incorporated into the final Restoring Central Dover plan, which should be completed by the middle of the year. The plan will be a summary of existing conditions, coupled with a vision to address problems such as transportation, housing, access to open space and commercial services. It will serve as a guide for efforts to find funding to make some of the projects a reality, Myer said.
The plan will be a key component of an application to make Dover part of Gov. Jack Markell’s program to establish Development District Designations throughout the state.
Markell announced the program in April, and legislation setting up the $7 million program is moving through the General Assembly. As a start, Markell envisions one Development District in each county, and Dover city officials already have expressed interest in applying for economic incentives that could bring in new retail businesses and more housing.
“Our plan is set to be finished in the right time frame,” Myer said. “It will be a perfect fit, if the legislation passes.”
A map of the project area is available at doverpost.com.