Taking Downtown Uptown
An aggressive state revitalization program provides a boost to Kent County municipalities.
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Dover Downtown Partnership executive director Bill Neaton suspects that many potential shoppers avoid the downtown areas of small towns such as Dover because they think there’s no place to park.
“Those of us who work and operate businesses in downtown Dover know that parking isn’t a problem,” says Neaton. A new 45-car parking lot opened in October, in fact.
“From design development to fundraising efforts, economic development and marketing and promotions, all our committees are driven by the common goal of revitalizing our downtown area while preserving its unique historical image,” Neaton says.
Recently, the DDP helped complete facade renovations to several downtown businesses, including the Dover Newsstand, Bel Boutique and Crumbs Restaurant.
A member of the national and state supported Main Street programs, the DDP reaches out to community partners like Wesley College. It also assists businesses by fixing vacant storefronts, then using them to attract new businesses.
In December the DDP made use of the holiday shopping period with a special Home for the Holidays parade on Loockerman Street. The event drew residents to downtown stores.
“We solicited merchants to provide discount coupons to be handed out to parade goers in an effort to create foot traffic into their stores after the parade,” Neaton says.
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