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Downtown Dover Partnership hosts tour of new development lots in transformation project

Gov. John Carney stands in front of the future lot for a mixed-use, mixed-income residential/retail building with fellow lawmakers and community leaders.
Sarah Petrowich
Delaware Public Media
Gov. John Carney stands in front of the future lot for a mixed-use, mixed-income residential/retail building with fellow lawmakers and community leaders.

The Downtown Dover Partnership hosted a tour for Gov. John Carney and community leaders to see where some initial projects in the Capital City plan will go.

The Downtown Dover master plan, finalized last year, anticipates $500 million in investments over the next 5-7 years to develop more residential, retail, public arts and recreational amenities in the area.

Carney recently allocated $25 million to the project, bringing new retail and residential spaces to Downtown Dover with hopes to attract 2,000 new residents to the area.

The money will fund phase one of a two phase project, which includes a mixed-use building with a grocery store, fitness center, daycare and coffee shop at 120 S. Governor’s Ave. Across the street will be a parking structure with a mobility hub.

Downtown Dover Partnership Executive Director Diane Laird says the parking structure is expected to be ready by 2026 with the mixed-use building completed in the next three years.

“People say there’s crime, there’s safety issues, there’s parking problems. All of that gets addressed, not only by a parking garage but also by more opportunities for the local workforce, new opportunities to buy nicer homes," she says.

Laird adds the new retail space will be a mixed-income building, which helps contribute to the project’s philosophy of equitable development.

The next phase of the project will be an additional multi-use building adjacent to the parking structure.

She says the former post office redevelopment is already underway, creating 30 new apartments and a commercial and restaurant space.

She says investments like that, along with the recent $25 million Carney allocated for a new mixed-use building and transportation hub, will help encourage private investors to do the same.

“There’ll be other kinds of private investments. I don’t even know all of them. I get murmurs of other private investors saying, ‘Hey it’s time.’ So I know there’s that going on, and that’s what we want to see, is that private investment spurred.”

Laird says they are also looking into creating a public art walk along Park Drive by the water and an amphitheater, as well as a river walk by Legislative Hall.

Carney says the local support for these projects is obvious, and he wants to see the capital city thrive.

"I just think that the concept of getting more people downtown makes a lot of sense for the businesses that are here, for enlivening the area and the community — I think it really is exciting," he says.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
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