Development of downtown Dover master plan underway

By Mike Finney
Posted 5/12/22

DOVER — The Downtown Dover Partnership and members of Mosaic Development Partners held a small group meeting Tuesday to start creating visuals for a master plan for the Loockerman Street area.

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Development of downtown Dover master plan underway

Posted

DOVER — The Downtown Dover Partnership and members of Mosaic Development Partners held a small group meeting Tuesday to start creating visuals for a master plan for the Loockerman Street area.

The charette — attended by businesspeople, property owners and residents — was part of a listening process, where Mosaic team members learned more about the area. In turn, with input from the community, they will begin to create concepts for its future.

Those ideas will include residential, business and workforce needs and opportunities; transportation; trends in the economy and how people are living and working; and investment and redevelopment strategies to transform the capital city over the next eight years.

“This charette was provided to a small group of economic development, transportation and planning leaders,” said Diane Laird, executive director of DDP. “We will hold several additional charettes and meetings over the coming months, in which the community will be invited to provide input.”

Organizers ask all those living, working or who are familiar with Dover to take a brief survey to share their proposals. The link to the questionnaire, as well as documents relating to the master plan, the vendor-selection process and a timeline, can be found at tinyurl.com/capitalcity2030 or downtowndover.com.

In addition, posters will be provided at City Hall, the Dover Public Library, Kent County Levy Court, The House of Coffi and other locations, where residents can write their ideas on postcards.

“This is a community-driven plan, and we need the entire community engaged to provide input, ideas, concerns, so that we can address them in the creation of the plan,” Ms. Laird said.

“This community engagement is gathering ideas from the community, including residents, business owners, property owners, officials and agencies, anyone that has a touch to downtown and a familiarity with downtown.”

Strategically redeveloping key parcels is critical for the success of the Loockerman Street corridor, including housing to build the locale’s population and assessing, updating and expanding infrastructure necessary for growth.

The plan is expected to be completed by this fall.

The target area includes Loockerman Street and adjacent neighborhoods and will take into consideration development nodes within the 250-acre Downtown Development District.

This area is also designated as a Qualified Opportunity Zone, meaning it is a high-priority spot for redevelopment and reinvestment.

To that end, Delaware State University and DDP representatives have begun meeting regularly to ensure coordination of planning, considering the recent acquisition of the Wesley College campus by the university and opportunities for a stronger college presence downtown.

Following the survey, the process will move into a discover phase, to gather more data about the district. Then, officials will spend most of the summer working on strategies, to present a new master plan in the autumn.

Done correctly, a master plan requires a range of professionals to make it an executable document, so Mosaic Development Partners was hired, Ms. Laird said. Co-founders Leslie Smallwood and Greg Reaves have assembled the Dover team.

Sponsors of the plan include the state of Delaware, Kent County and the city of Dover, in partnership with DDP.