Enacted by the Delaware General Assembly in 2014, the purposes of the Downtown Development Districts Act (the Act), are to:

  • Spur private capital investments in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods;
  • Stimulate job growth and improve the commercial vitality of districts and neighborhoods;
  • Help build a stable community of long-term residents by improving housing opportunities; and,
  • Assist municipalities in strengthening neighborhoods while harnessing the attraction that vibrant downtowns hold for talented people, innovative small businesses, and residents from all walks of life.

Local governments can take advantage of the program by identifying an area in their downtowns as being desirable for revitalization and then developing a district plan and incentives to support revitalization of the area in accordance with the goals of the Act. The application process for designation as a Downtown Development District (DDD or District) is facilitated by the Office of State Planning Coordination. The applications are then evaluated by the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues according to three criteria, as specified in the Act: the need and impact (50%), the quality of the district plan (30%), and the local incentives (20%). The Cabinet Committee then makes recommendations to the Governor who makes the final designation. According to the legislation, the number of districts is limited to 15 at any one time. So far, there are a total of eight designated Districts.

Three DDDs were designated in January 2015, including:

  • City of Dover
  • City of Seaford
  • City of Wilmington

Three DDDs were designated in August 2016, including:

  • Town of Georgetown
  • City of Harrington
  • Town of Laurel
  • City of Milford
  • City of Smyrna

For additional information on the DDD program, including District Plans and Maps for each of the designated Districts, please visit the Office of State Planning website.

Check out this GIS Story Map, which highlights the first year of the DDD program and benefits.

GIS Story Map and http://arcg.is/208FjmV

Benefits of Downtown Development Districts

The Downtown Development Districts Program seeks to revitalize the downtown “Central Business District” in selected city, town, and county areas through the use of economic incentives.

Downtown Development Districts aim to spur capital investments, stimulate job growth and improve commercial vitality, improve housing opportunities, and strengthen neighborhoods. The Delaware Annual Report on Downtown Development Districts is available on the Delaware State Housing Authority’s website.

Visit the Downtown Development Districts section of the toolbox to learn more about how these districts align with complete-community planning principles.

Story Map Development

This story map is produced as part of the Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox with funding support from the Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center-Region 3 University Transportation Center.

The story map was developed by Savannah Edwards, Public Administration Fellow, University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration (IPA) under the direction of IPA Policy Scientist Marcia Scott.

Special thanks to Connie Holland (Office of State Planning Coordination, OSPC), David Edgell (OSPC), Miriam Pomilio (OSPC), and Karen Horton (Delaware State Housing Authority) for featured content and assistance.

How to Utilize Story Maps in Your Community

Visit the GIS Story Maps section of the toolbox to learn more about how you can use this tool to promote local government initiatives to support market-ready (re)development in your community.

Contact IPA’s GIS Specialist Nicole Minni, at nminni@udel.edu, to obtain information on contracting her services to develop story maps.