Georgetown’s downtown district chosen for development incentives

Several blocks east from The Circle along East Market Street are among the areas included in the town's Downtown Development District.

Several blocks east from The Circle along East Market Street are among the areas included in the town’s Downtown Development District.

GEORGETOWN – Georgetown Mayor Bill West has been the bearer of good news of late.

Wednesday, Mayor West was in Smyrna. There Gov. Jack Markell officially designated Georgetown one of five new Downtown Development Districts in Delaware.

Wednesday’s announcement of the statewide expansion of the program reaffirms the state’s efforts to redevelop Delaware’s commercial business districts and drive private investment in towns and cities.

Mayor Bill West, speaking at the CHEER car show Aug. 6, shared information on Georgetown's Downtown Development District designation.

Mayor Bill West, speaking at the CHEER car show Aug. 6, shared information on Georgetown’s Downtown Development District designation.

“The town council and I are committed to the revitalization of our downtown and firmly believe this designation, combined with significant local incentives, will help kick start both residential and commercial investment within our main commercial district,” said Mayor West. “Initial efforts will be to complete our implementation plan, communicate the designation to all properties within the district boundaries, and invite new and existing projects to take advantage of this opportunity. We appreciate the continued support from both the Office of the Governor and the Delaware Legislature for this worthwhile program. We look forward to the positive impact of this designation on the town of Georgetown.”

Laurel, Milford, Harrington and Smyrna also earned the Downtown Development District designation.

Investors who make qualified improvements to residential, commercial, or industrial properties in those districts now may qualify for state and local development incentives, including 20-percent state grant rebates.

Since early 2015, the Downtown Development Districts program has helped finance major new private development in the original districts in Seaford, Wilmington and, with $14 million in state grant funding leveraging more than $290 million of private investment.

“The Downtown Development Districts program already is driving major investment in our cities, from Market Street in Wilmington to the banks of the Nanticoke River in Seaford,” said Gov. Markell. “More Delawareans than ever want to live and work in walkable, urban areas. This expansion will help meet that demand by encouraging private development of downtown areas statewide.”

Targeted areas in Georgetown’s Downtown Development District: several blocks east from The Circle along East Market Street (Rt. 9) to the Georgetown Little League Park, Race Street that extends north toward the Georgetown Police Department and Kimmeytown, an older section of the downtown/residential area.

“We are going to create businesses,” Mayor West told the audience at the Aug. 6 CHEER car show. “We’re also going to include Race Street. We were asked to include Kimmeytown. They wanted us to add Kimmeytown to revitalize. It’s one of our older communities with housing that is going down.”

“Now we’ve got money that we can attract some developers and people to want to invest in Georgetown,” Mayor West said.

Shedding the light

In addition, the mayor on Aug. 6 shed light on a colorful feature. Installation of 56 LED lights on The Circle will create the mathematical possibility of 30,000 different colors, Mayor West said.

That creates opportunity to connect colors to certain holidays and special awareness campaigns.

“Everything you can think you; breast cancer, ovarian cancer, whatever … we are going to change that on The Circle. Even Halloween, I am going to change it black and orange,” Mayor West said.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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