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Delaware gets $65M+ from ARPA for nonprofit service centers

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The Nylon Capital Shopping Center, seen here in a rendering, is slated to have major aspects demolished this year, paving the way for redevelopment. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF SEAFORD

The Nylon Capital Shopping Center, seen here in a rendering, is slated to receive $20 million in federal funding to build a workforce training center. | PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF SEAFORD

Delaware will receive $65.9 million from the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund to support building new and expanding existing community service centers around the state.

The fund created by the Biden administration’s ARPA in 2021 supports the expansion of high-speed broadband internet access, both through the physical expansion of cable networks to communities and through the development of centers where the public can access it.

To date, 41 states have received more than $6.5 billion from the $10 billion fund aimed at projects to expand economic opportunities and communities throughout the country, and provide connectivity that directly enables work, education and health monitoring in communities with unmet needs.

Because Delaware already has one of the highest rates of broadband internet availability, state leaders have sought federal funds to support centers instead. Last year, Delaware received $40.3 million to assist nine state libraries in offering internet services to the public.

Now, 29 nonprofits across the state selected through a grant process will be supported by the $65.9 million in funding. The organizations offer a variety of services, including connecting youth with job training programs and opportunities, providing services for homeless individuals, supporting children and adults with disabilities, and offering public Wi-Fi access and health services for seniors.

Kingswood Community Center Wilmington Delaware REACH Riverside

Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington will receive $4 million toward its replacement. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

Some of the recipients include West End Neighborhood House, Kingswood Community Center, St. Patrick’s Center, the Police Athletic League, NeighborGood Partners, Food Bank of Delaware and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware.

“What is so beautiful about the announcement today is it recognizes both the importance of the technology side – the importance of being connected of universal broadband – but also the importance of people helping people,” said Gene Sperling, senior advisor to the president and ARPA coordinator, who credited Gov. John Carney’s advocacy for making Delaware one of the first states to receive funding for multi-purpose centers rather than pure infrastructure needs.

Carney told reporters during a press briefing Monday that he was especially excited about the Community Education Center for Seaford, which will be part of the larger redevelopment project of the former Nylon Capital Shopping Center. It is set to receive the largest grant of all projects at $20 million.

“It used to be the crown jewel of the Eastern Shore, for folks to come and do their shopping, and that’s not been the case for many years. But this is an opportunity… to be a big lift for the city of Seaford and the surrounding area,” Carney said.

Rob Herrera, principal at 9th Street Development Company, the Seaford project developer, told Delaware Business Times that the funding will help to build and outfit a workforce training center focused on industrial small-batch manufacturing and health care.

“We’re still in the process of working through who those partners will be, but this funding will really incentivize those partners to come to the site,” he said.

Herrera noted that the large amount of funding will help the revitalization project advance during a difficult environment for building, as project financing has risen amid the Federal Reserve’s fight to tame inflation.

“This was probably one of the only ways we could have gotten this project to meet the vision we have for it,” he said. “Our goal is to not just transform Seaford, but hopefully impact all of Western Sussex in a positive way.”

In total, the 29 funded organizations, ranked from largest allocation to smallest, are:

  •       $20 million to Community Education Center South to redevelop the former Nylon Capital Shopping Center in Seaford.
  •       $7 million to Forum to Advance Minorities in Engineering (FAME) for a new headquarters to enhance FAME’s skills training, job placement, education programs, workforce development programs, and health awareness.
  •       $6.4 million to the Mary Campbell Center to renovate medical facilities, filtration, and other COVID-19 upgrades to their existing building and to support children and youth programming.
  •       $5.5 million for the Food Bank of Delaware to build a new Milford Food Bank location.
  •       $4.5 million to the Christina Cultural Arts Center to purchase and develop a new headquarters to serve children and families.
  •       $4 million to the Claymont Community Center to upgrade outdoor community facilities, upgrade the HVAC, and provide client transport vehicles.
  •       $4 million to Kingswood Community Center for multi-purpose community space in Wilmington to enable work, education, and health monitoring.
  •       $2.78 million for the West End Neighborhood House, Inc. to expand operations and provide workforce and healthcare services to the community.
  •       $1.9 million to the Food Bank of Delaware to expand the existing Newark facility.
  •       $1.8 million to the Hockessin Police Athletic League (PAL) of Delaware for a new HVAC system in the gymnasium to provide STEM and fitness activities to the community, and provide year-round educational courses.
  •       $1.57 million to Boys and Girls Clubs statewide to make capital upgrades to nine facilities to meet COVID-19 needs, including improving HVAC systems, and upgrading outdoor playgrounds.
  •       $1.3 million for Kappa Mainstream Leadership, Inc. for improvements to the center focused on crime prevention and increasing academic performance of youth.
  •       $500,000 to First State Community Action Agency in Bridgeville for HVAC repairs, purchase of vehicles to transport youth from underserved communities for programming, case management for community service employment and reentry programs.
  •       $700,000 to the Gaudenzia Foundation to combat and prevent child abuse by treating parents with substance abuse disorders.
  •       $600,000 for the St. Patrick’s Center for improvements to the food distribution site serving the Eastside of Wilmington to meet pandemic response needs.
  •       $550,000 to Code Purple Kent County to expand and renovate the center for housing for homeless individuals, people experiencing mental health crises, escape victims from human trafficking and domestic violence as well as individuals recovering from addiction.
  •       $431,000 to the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware to renovate the headquarters to offer employment opportunities, educational programs and health supports to families with children that have Down Syndrome.
  •       $350,000 for the Mid-County Center to renovate the center to establish early memory loss programs for seniors.
  •       $350,000 for NeighborGood Partners (formerly NCALL) to acquire and develop a building in Dover to cultivate and invest in entrepreneurs in partnership with Delaware State University.
  •       $300,000 to the Junior Achievement of Delaware to purchase a mobile unit to serve Kent and Sussex Counties and support the Junior Achievement Innovation hub.
  •       $290,000 for the Community Christian Worship Center to purchase technology to enable education, work, and health monitoring for youth programming.
  •       $183,516 to Salvation Army of Dover for HVAC renovations.
  •       $150,000 to Child Inc. to upgrade three emergency shelters in Kent and Sussex Counties.
  •       $150,000 to the Claymore Senior Center to replace the HVAC system and remodel the kitchen to meet pandemic response needs serving more seniors in a safe environment.
  •       $150,000 to Our Youth Inc. to help renovate the youth center to use as a community hub and community service facility.
  •       $144,110 for The Challenge Program to renovate their facility to provide training for more young adults for construction jobs in hard hit areas.
  •       $89,890 for Kent-Sussex Industries to expand and open a new location in Georgetown to enable work, education, and health monitoring.
  •       $67,703 for People’s Community Center to renovate their facility to provide assistance and services to the homeless.
  •       $64,866 for Endless Possibilities in the Community to purchase handicap accessible equipment to help people with physical, mental, and other disabilities.
  •       $35,000 for the Teach a Person to Fish Society to expand meal delivery services and provide educational and job training services.

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