Senator Carper visits Seaford to discuss city's plans for the future

By Tony Russo

Seaford Mayor David Genshaw told Sen. Tom Carper during a recent meeting that the credit for the town winning the recent Downtown Development District all goes to city manager Dolores Slatcher. It was Slatcher who sold the committee on why Seaford should have been selected above other area municipalities. Among the incentives is a 20 percent cost grant on downtown development projects in excess of $25,000, which is expected to spur an already-heating up center city market.

"We're seeing a lot of property change hands right now," Slatcher said.

Carper was in town to get a better handle on what Seaford had in mind for its economic development future and to see if there were ways he could help. There are, for example, federal grants and programs that might dovetail well with the state and local incentives.

Genshaw suggested, among other things, that Seaford would be an ideal location to erect a satellite campus for the University of Delaware and that the town would welcome help solving development problems.

Of particular concern were the roads around Gardner and Gibson, which will only deteriorate further as traffic from the coming Perdue project increases.

"We're primed to make whatever needs to happen, happen," he said.

Carper was enthusiastic about interior development, which he said is too often overlooked as towns try to attract new businesses.

"Sometimes the best idea is to find a company that's already there and help them do well," he said.

State Sen. Bryant Richardson told Genshaw and Carper he hoped the new DelDOT administration would be able to give some support.

Beyond the talk about economic development, Carper reminded the town about how critical workforce development, especially in regard to education, is. He lauded Seaford's continued efforts in education, and made a nod to Laurel's attempts to improve its image.

"The encouraging thing about Seaford is they've started the Pathways Program," Richardson said. He expressed satisfaction at the continuing practical experience to which students were gaining access through internships and apprenticeships.

Going forward, the Seaford administration will try and tie its new branding plan and motto into the downtown development push with the aim of using the extra attention to attract and grow local businesses. This may include helping organize a "Start Up" entrepreneurial project, which has been successful in other towns in the region.

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