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Downtown Dover Partnership explores options for parking garage, mobility hub

Downtown Dover Partnership holds open house at Dover Public Library to explore parking options for master revitalization project.
Rachel Sawicki
Delaware Public Media
Downtown Dover Partnership holds open house at Dover Public Library to explore parking options for master revitalization project.

Downtown Dover Partnership holds an open house to discuss key features of a master redevelopment plan.

The goal for Downtown Dover’s overall master plan is to attract new residents, businesses, public arts and recreational amenities.

A parking garage is proposed to meet the need for more convenient, safe parking options in the Loockerman commercial district – while removing street parking to widen sidewalks and create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.

The parking garage would be paid parking, generating revenue for the city to reinvest into more downtown improvements.

But DDP Board President Todd Stonesifer says the proposed location on South Bradford Street involves two historic buildings from the early 1900’s.

“We heard major pushback from people who want to save them because they are historic," Stonesifer says. "And so that has caused the need for this meeting today, to come up with some other opportunities, other options.”

The demolition or relocation of those buildings would allow the garage to extend out and keep it four to five stories tall. But without removal, the garage would likely be seven or eight stories tall to fit almost 800 new parking spaces.

Former Main Street Dover Director Lorraine Dion says she wants the buildings to stay.

“We need to protect and preserve our history," Dion says. "And the DDP, that’s part of their mission too, and they could be setting the example. I know it will probably cost more money and cost more time to find another alternative but I think they should do that.”

The timeline to have the mobility center and parking garage completed is the end of 2026, so DDP officials say they need to finalize a plan as soon as possible.

Mayor Robin Christiansen says he would support the demolition option.

“I like Plan A, which is the shorter building," Christiansen says. "The entrance off of Bradford Street is a smart way to go because Governors Avenue is a main through for firetrucks, ambulances and police responses, and you don’t want to get people tied up if they are lined up to go in that garage. The best thing to do is to have secure, safe, off-street parking.”

Proposed transportation improvements also include a mobility hub with access to electric vehicle parking, bus transportation, and ride-share drop-off and pick-up locations to co-locate parking and commercial activity.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.