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"A little bit of Dover history": Former Playtex water tower to be demolished

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
The water tower at the old Playtex site in Dover.

The water tower at the former Playtex site in Dover will be torn down Wednesday morning to make way for a large shopping center.

When Playtex came to Dover in the late 1930s, it provided hundreds of jobs and income to locals.

But almost 20 years ago, the plant at West Division St. and Route 13 closed. The city has been demolishing the plant for nearly a year now and is set to tear down the nearby water tower Wednesday.

“That’s a little bit of Dover history that’s going to be disappearing but new history will be rising from the ashes,” Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said.

Ever since the former factory and the water tower have been closed for so long, the latter has been an “eyesore” for the city, Christiansen said.

“It is a drag on the property values of the homes that are located around there and it will just provide a new and revitalized repurposing of the entire property for the good of the city, the entire community and the people who live around it,” Christiansen said.

The water tower will be torn down early Wednesday morning. Delaware's Department of Transportation said there will be a brief road closure on Division St. between Route 13 and Bayard Ave from 3 a.m. - 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The sound of excavators and other heavy construction working at the former Playtex site in Dover.

The city is making room for the planned Capital Station shopping center. Christiansen says he anticipates the planned complex will bring in at least 50 jobs. The project will take about 18 months to complete.

"It's going to provide some much needed jobs here in the city," Christiansen said. "We don't want to lose any of the businesses we have but we certainly are encouraging more business and more jobs to come to the city because that allows our folks to buy houses and to shop at the other businesses and stores that we have."

Christiansen said the city reached out to businesses that might be interested in setting up shop in the complex, but can't reveal what businesses have shown interest.