The Dover-based nonprofit NCALL is beginning to knock down some blighted houses in Delaware’s capital Monday.
NCALL bought the nine vacant homes in February for about $35,oo0 a piece using a Delaware State Housing Authority Grant.
Five of the properties sit side by side on a single block of North Kirkwood Street in central Dover. NCALL Executive Director Joe Myer says the street invites crime.
“These homes are blight, and blight attracts crime. So one of our efforts is to help to reduce crime in the area to help to make central Dover a better place to live work and play for residents and stakeholders,” said Myer.
NCALL plans to build new homes to replace seven of the demolished houses and give the other two properties to the Central Delaware Habitat for Humanity.
This project is the tour de force of a 20 agency collaborative Restoring Central Dover. Myer says the effort was sparked by a 2014 study showing a mere 20% homeownership rate in the area.
“But it also showed our that Loockerman Street—our prime commercial corridor downtown—has some vacancies, and we’ve helped establish the unlock the block initiative, which is underway, matching vacant available properties with entrepreneurs,” he said.
The $1 million housing authority grant issued to NCALL and Habitat for Humanity is for the redevelopment of 20 Dover properties.
Myer says redevelopment will cost about $200 thousand per unit. The Dover Downtown Development District is providing a tax rebate for the project.