Downtown Dover will receive a $1 million grant for brownfield sites

The old Dover Post Office will benefit from new grant funding as a brownfield site. This is a representation of what it could look like under Downtown Dover Partnership’s revitalization plans. l PHOTO COURTESY of FRANK DIMONDI

DOVER — Like the Downtown Dover Partnership (DDP) works to improve the local community, to the tune of $1 million Brownfields Multipurpose Grant of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been awarded to support the redevelopment of several well-trodden locations.

Brownfield properties, according to the EPA, are typically abandoned industrial or commercial sites that may have the presence of hazardous pollutants, substances or other contaminants such as asbestos, metals, petroleum or volatile organic compounds that could make redevelopment or reuse difficult.

Rather than allowing brownfield sites to sit idle and fall into increasing disrepair as the years pass, the EPA argues that redeveloping those sites into something new “expands local tax bases, facilitates job growth, enhances existing infrastructure the development required reduces pressure on undeveloped, open land and improves and protects the environment.”

The $1 million grant to the Downtown Development Partnership is a step in the right direction for revitalization efforts in the state capital, with resources coming from the Bipartisan infrastructure bill co-author of Delaware’s congressional delegation.

Specifically, the funds will benefit six environmental assessments of sites in two phases and support community engagement activities in central Dover in the process. According to a press release by Senator Tom Carper’s officefunds will also “be used to clean up other properties in the Dover boundary in the Downtown Development District.”

“This is a perfect example of the positive impact of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill,” Governor John Carney said in the press release. “The brownfield work being funded will set the stage for the planned transformation of downtown Dover into a place where more people want to live, work and shop, and we appreciate the President and the federal delegation for making the funding possible. ”

Other locations listed in DDP’s grant application include the old Dover Post Office, the former Dover Machine Works parking lot, a former dry cleaners and gas station on Governor’s Avenue, the old City Hall and PNC Bank building and former auto repair shops on Railroad Avenue and Forest. Street..

“The Downtown Dover Partnership is so pleased to be expanding the environmental remediation work that has been part of our community service for some time,” Tina Bradbury, Operations Manager for the Downtown Dover Partnership, said in the news release. “This funding will allow us to clear sites that would otherwise not be developed due to current environmental concerns, including some of the Partnership’s priority large-scale mixed-use redevelopment projects, as well as some more traditional retail properties. . These locations will then transform into retail, residential, dining and community gatherings – all essential parts of the Transforming Downtown Dover master plan.”

Once the potentially harmful substances, pollutants or contaminants have been removed from the affected sites, redevelopment, demolition or other construction work can begin.

The brownfield grant is just one of many financing mechanisms provided to the area that are improving the community step by step. The federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has raised $15.1 million in funding for downtown Dover. Another $10 million has been appropriated from state funds in next year’s bond bill.

“When we were working on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, projects like this – which will not only clean up our environment, but also help create a nurturing environment for job growth and economic development – ​​were at the top of our agenda,” Senator Carper said in the release. “This funding is just one part of the larger vision for revitalizing our capital city, and I am proud that all levels of government, the private sector and community members are coming together to make this vision a reality.”

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