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Governor Carney is committed to partnering with local officials and private investors to strengthen Delaware’s communities, revitalize Delaware’s downtown areas, and ensure that resources are reaching economically-distressed neighborhoods across our state. These partnerships and community development investments will help us ensure that all Delawareans have the opportunity to succeed in an economy that is evolving every day. Governor Carney’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget included $17.5 million for community development initiatives through the Downtown Development District Program, the Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund, and the Housing Development Fund.
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In April, Governor Carney announced 25 communities and economically-distressed properties across Delaware that were designated as Opportunity Zones by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. These Opportunity Zone designations will help build on ongoing community development efforts across Delaware, and encourage additional private investment where it can have the most impact – in economically-distressed communities. The Delaware sites include a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial properties that are well-positioned to compete for the significant investment needed in low-income communities across the state. Qualified investors in the zones will become eligible for federal tax incentives.
Revitalization of Delaware’s downtowns is a centerpiece of Governor Carney’s commitment to reinvesting in Delaware’s communities by partnering with the private sector to encourage private investment in our towns and cities. A relatively small amount of state funding has leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment, funding new housing and small business development in Dover, Georgetown, Harrington, Laurel, Milford, Seaford, Smyrna and Wilmington — our designated downtown districts. Downtown Development District investments will have a long-term impact rippling out into surrounding neighborhoods, and strengthening local economies across our state.
Investments eligible for Downtown Development District rebate funds include capital investments on rehabilitation, expansion or new construction for commercial, industrial, residential or mixed-use buildings within the district boundaries. Rebates are issued after the project is completed. Qualified applicants include property owners, tenants, for-profit developers, nonprofit organizations, businesses and homeowners.
The Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund offers direct assistance to local governments and organizations to clean up and restore abandoned properties, attack blight, and restore neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. We all have a stake in building strong neighborhoods across our state, so all Delawareans can share in our state’s growth and success. Delaware’s Strong Neighborhoods Housing Fund addresses vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties across the State, and targets effort that support community development and have the capacity to transform neighborhoods that have abandoned properties.
Revitalizing neighborhoods is key to strengthening Delaware. Through the Housing Development Fund, Delaware is investing in safe, affordable housing to provide options for all Delawareans to live safely in communities where they can live, work, and play. The Housing Development Fund provides financing to developers of affordable, decent, safe and sanitary housing to low- to moderate-income Delawarean families.