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Dover Post
  • NCALL Research unveils plan to revitalize central Dover

  • Create affordable housing. Promote economic development. And improve existing infrastructure.

    Those were three of the main recommendations NCALL Research, a Dover-based affordable housing organization, proposed Wednesday as part of their vision for improving downtown Dover.
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  • Create affordable housing. Promote economic development. And improve existing infrastructure.
    Those were three of the main recommendations NCALL Research, a Dover-based affordable housing organization, proposed Wednesday as part of their vision for improving downtown Dover.
    The proposal, called “Restoring Central Dover,” was created with the help of a $90,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation and Philadelphia-based Interface Studios.
    Interface Studios identified a corridor of focus about four blocks wide that stretches from Hope Street in the south to William Street in the north, and includes an area from Queen Street in the west to State Street in the east. An arm breaks off of that main corridor that encompasses Saulsbury Road, Forest Avenue and North Street, according to Leah Murphy, a senior associate with Interface Studios.
    Nearly 225 surveys were then distributed to residents in that area. Data collected from those questionnaires was then combined with feedback gleaned from open houses that NCALL held in May and a map of vacant properties to create the plan that was presented at Wesley United Methodist on Wednesday.
    “The idea is to have the public give us some feedback,” said Joe Myer, the executive director of NCALL. “To have them gives us some suggestions and tells us if we’re off track, tell us if we’re on track, that kind of thing.”
    Wednesday’s presentation included suggestions such as restoring Dover Police Department foot and bike patrol around the city, expanding youth programs, making downtown more bike friendly and converting vacant lots into affordable housing and creating pocket parks.
    Kenneth Roach, a member of the City of Dover’s Human Relations Commission, said that he felt the proposal was a good idea, but he also voiced some concerns.
    “I just hope that they keep in mind the fact that there are a lot of low-income families in that area,” he said. “I would love to see downtown Dover improve, but I want it to still be a community and not something that turns into a place that is not even accessible because it’s going to be something for the haves and the have-nots are left out.”
    The feedback collected from Wednesday’s meeting will be taken back to an NCALL steering committee and incorporated into future adjustments. A final plan is set to be presented in September. At that time, the plan will be submitted to the state, so Dover can apply to be considered as a Downtown Development District, a program recently approved by the General Assembly that aims to provide economic development incentives that promote revitalization of downtown areas and their surrounding neighborhoods.
    Page 2 of 2 - “That will bring state resources into our target area that will hopefully allow us to start working on implementation right away,” Murphy said. “It’s not just planning pie in the sky for something that might happen someday. There are real resources out there that we’re pursuing as part of this plan.”
    NCALL also intends to apply for another grant with Wells Fargo Regional Foundation that would fund the implementation of the plan over a five-year period.
    “This isn’t going to be a plan that just sits on a shelf,” Myer said. “It’s going to have implementation plans and steps even with budgets so we can take that and shop that for funding."

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