Governor visits apartment complexes in Seaford

By Rachel Farris

Monday afternoon, Governor Markell visited two apartment complexes in Seaford currently under construction. The first was Meadowbridge Apartments, which are getting a makeover.

Over the last eight years, the Delaware State Housing Authority has, with financing from the Housing Development Fund and the Affordable Rental Housing Program, increased Delawares rental housing by more than 800 units. They have also played a large role in rehabilitating of units. The 104 two-bedroom Meadowbridge Apartment units make up housing for Seaford residents making between 30 and 60 percent of the areas median income.

The site currently being renovated is nearly down to the frames as the apartments are remodeled. The exteriors, electrical, plumbing, windows and doors are all being replaced, along with renovating kitchens and bathrooms. Eleven of these units will be fully accessible for disabled residents, and a community center and management office are going in as well.

Gov. Markell was able to tour an old unit (with no work done on it yet), a unit being worked on, and a new, completed unit. This is a great way to see progress, said Director Anas Ben Addi, Delaware State Housing Authority. Many will see the groundbreaking and finished product, but seeing all three stages side by side really shows the transformation the apartments are undergoing. The site is a $16.5 million project, with three million allocated from the state.

The apartment complex is subsidized and no resident pays more than 30 percent of their income in rent. The rest is paid by the government. The units are roughly $850 per month in rent; however, some tenants make $10,000 or $15,000 per year. This, after taking out utilities, means the resident would pay less than $500 per month.

The community center will offer programs for the tenants as well as the children.

For children, it is one way that kids can stay occupied in the hours between coming home from school and their parents getting home from work. The center will have room for around 4 computers, though every unit has internet capabilities.

Markell also visited the Riverside Apartments currently in development on the corner of Water and North Sts. This project also received money from the state (around $600,000) that Gov. Markell supported. The residences were supported by the Governors Downtown Development District (DDD) program, which provides grants for projects in selected downtown communities, Jonathon Dworkin, Communications Director for the Governor, wrote in an email. Created by legislation proposed by Governor Markell and passed in 2014, the DDD program has leveraged $14 million into more than $200 million in private investment across all three counties. In January of 2015, Seaford became one of the first three districts designated by Markell.

Though some people were skeptical of the downtown revitalization projects in Seaford, there is a lot of promise in the future gated community. Were excited to see the impact this will have on the rest of the town, Mayor David Genshaw said. So many government projects occur, he commented, and you dont get to see the outcome; with this new site, citizens of Seaford will be able to see the effect, particularly in downtown. Indeed, six leases have already been signed, with four or five reservations made, according to Trina Joyner, associate broker at Caldwell Banker. Project developer David Perlmutter added that the Royal Farms a few blocs away on High St. purchased additional land and would be building a new facility in the coming months. Gov. Markell said that it was positive that Seaford was one of the first three Designated Downtown Districts, as the local officials were extremely responsive.

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