2017 Restoring Central Dover Milestones
Restoring Central Dover (RCD) is a comprehensive community development effort led by NCALL and a Steering Committee comprised of over 20 different organizations, including non-profits, churches, government agencies, businesses, and residents. During FY 2017, RCD completed its second year of implementation focusing on the downtown portion of Delaware's state capital. This endeavor is funded primarily by the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation. Read the Strategic Plan or the Executive Summary of the plan for the revitalization effort.
This year, RCD had many accomplishments in improving life in downtown Dover:
- Provided $40,000 in emergency assistance to struggling residents
- Hosted a community fair
- Engaged 925 resident volunteers for community events and meetings
- Hosted a spring clean up
- Planted a community garden
- Completed and installed a community mural
- Held a Community Youth Leadership Workshop
- Awarded $35,000 in grants for work group projects
- Oversaw a number of housing opportunities
- Held an arts convening
- Sent six RCD residents to the NeighborWorks Community Leadership Institute in Los Angeles
“Lights On, Dover Strong” Campaign
RCD led the Lights On, Dover Strong campaign, which kicked off in late June. It has already provided for the supplies and installation of dusk-to-dawn energy-efficient LED lights for over 200 Central Dover residents' front porches and solar-powered LED motion floodlights for their backyards.
The first phase of the program was completed over the summer. Residents were also provided community resources from the state's Energy Assistance Program to help make their homes more energy efficient, healthier and safe. In return for the free lights, residents pledged to turn their porch lights on and to take action to keep their neighborhood safe by reporting any suspicious or criminal activity to the Dover Police Department.
The goal of Lights On, Dover Strong is to have the residents take charge of their neighborhood, reduce crime and increase safety and security. It is also to increase the public's awareness of this resident action to reduce criminal activity around high-risk areas with Central Dover. Volunteers from the HELP Initiative, Inc., along with interns from Delaware State University and Wesley College, went door-to-door installing the lightbulbs, solar-powered LED motion floodlights and collecting residents' signed pledges. One such volunteer is Janelle, a resident of downtown Dover and a wife and mother of five. Janelle was happy to see the project come to fruition because "crime happens in the darkness... they don't want to be seen. Now they have to go somewhere else."
Dover Police Chief Marvin Mailey agrees and has said that this initiative is one that is paying dividends. "We have seen a tremendous decline in the number of burglaries committed in 2017 and we credit this program and proactive policing. Overall, the Lights On, Dover Strong initiative has made these neighborhoods safer to live."
In addition to helping with Lights On, Dover Strong, Janelle was one of the residents that NCALL sent to Los Angeles to participate in the Community Leadership Institute. She is now inspired to start her own foundation to help kids "elevate their aspirations." She is working on starting KITE Dreams (Keep Investing to Elevate Dreams) whose mission will be to educate youth and their parents. "I used to work in the school system and I saw young people who were just stuck and didn't think they had a way out. I want to show them that there is a better way, to start a new cycle in their lives. Some of these kids haven't even ever been to the beach - and they live in Dover! I want to expose them to life's other options and experiences."
The steering committee and work groups meet monthly on implementing projects and seeking resources for Central Dover.