The Downtown Dover Partnership, working in concert with the City of Dover and multiple public and non-public agencies engaged a team including ESI to develop a strategic master plan for the downtown and surrounding neighborhood area.
The central premise of a reignited downtown district calls for density and connection to become the engines that drive change. The future requires new developments that activate ground floor spaces, adding nearly 1,000 new residential units, a boutique hotel, centralized parking, more contemporary architecture, upgraded existing building structures, restaurants with outdoor seating, authentic retail, programmed public spaces, streamlined government approvals and government assisted financial incentives.
The plan recommends incentives for building owners and businesses to stay or come to Downtown Dover. To attract and keep businesses, we recommend continued public investments in infrastructure, creating new financial tools such as TIFs to spur economic development, and an expedited path to approval for projects that align with the master plan.
The plan is also built on the principles of equitable development. Building a more vibrant community also means including those who are traditionally left behind in the process. Dover has a large population of low- and moderate-income residents, many of whom need programmatic support to invest in job training, small business development, stabilized housing, and social support. To help achieve that, we recommend attracting new businesses and training programs that emphasize local hiring, working closely with not-for-profits to leverage all investments, and working with established agencies to lessen the burden of homelessness, vagrancy, drug addiction and crime. The plan creates spaces for young people to learn, create and play, giving them new ways to enjoy the downtown.