Downtown Delaware Conference showcased revitalization efforts throughout the state

WILMINGTON, Del.  Governor Jack Markell, Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) Director Bernice Whaley, Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams and other  planning and key industry experts were joined Wednesday by more than 160 attendees for the 2016 Downtown Delaware Revitalize! Conference and Awards

“Delaware’s downtowns are drivers of economic growth and prosperity, and this program has proven that a small amount of state support can catalyze major private investment to energize these key areas,” Markell said. “We look forward to building on the program’s success, and supporting more investment.”

“Some of the most creative and innovative economic development work is being done through downtown businesses,” states DEDO Director Bernice Whaley. “The drive, passion, dedication of our downtown partners and business owners, is essential to our statewide revitalization efforts.”

The conference focused on the theme of “placemaking” — a multi-faceted approach to planning, design and management of public spaces — which capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration and potential with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness and well-being.

Conference-goers were treated to a variety sessions hosted by industry experts that provided applicable, practical ways to implement “placemaking” strategies, as well as tours of the hosting venues. Keynote speakers Joe Borgstrom, Principal, Place & Main Advisors, LLC and Hal Real, Founder & President, Real Entertainment Group, Inc. shared their expertise and experience with downtown revitalization efforts. For complete conference agenda, please visit http://inde.delaware.gov/dedo_pdf/misc/AGENDARevitalize.pdf.

“The Main Street Program is an economic development tool that encourages entrepreneurial opportunity in downtowns across the state,” said Diane Laird, Downtown Delaware’s State Coordinator. “We were pleased to celebrate the accomplishments of those who exemplify superior volunteer commitment and partnership with Delaware’s revitalization organizations.”

The day was capped off by the official presentation of the Excellence in Downtown Revitalization Awards to celebrate the successes in business districts statewide. For a complete list of nominees and award winners, please visit http://de.gov/5e2.

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