Civic News

The coolest economic development projects in Delaware’s 3 counties right now

Manufacturing and farmland, yes, but also kids coding and glamping. Execs from New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties share what has them most excited.

Presenting at Developing Delaware 2022. (Photo by Regina Donato, courtesy of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce)

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a newsletter alongside a roundup of Technical.ly’s best reporting from the week, job openings and more. Subscribe here to get updates on Delaware tech, business and innovation news in your inbox on Thursdays.


You might not know it yet, but this small wonder has a hold on your money, your food and your glamping weekends.

At Developing Delaware 2022 hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce last week, leaders from each county had the floor for hot developments in their part of the state.

Each county boasts its own contribution to the economic health of Delaware. Any neighbor might know that New Castle is home to Wilmington banks, Kent has the capital of Dover and farmlands, and Sussex boasts bachelorette beaches. Meanwhile, what else is happening in those 2,000 square miles? Here are some of the coolest projects happening in each county:

New Castle is doing the most

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer revved up the crowds with mention of the 2022 BMW Championship hosted by the Wilmington Country Club.

Meyer’s mind is on how New Castle can support the workforce, whether it’s someone out of college or a leader looking to start up a company. Programs like 1,000 Kids Coding teaching programming and a fly school pilot training program are building the workforce.

While tech and shiny new things are on the horizon, NCC still aims to serve its community. The county’s “pay for success” contract, through which taxpayer funds are used only when project is successful, focused on a program providing $3 million in assistance for vulnerable mothers. The Pathway to Apprenticeship offers skill-based job training, and Wilmington’s hotel-turned-shelter, The Hope Center, is helping residents move into permanent housing.

Meanwhile, the county is also transforming vacant spaces like Barley Mill Plaza which will soon bring the state’s first Wegmans, and building new ones like the MOT Library, plus parks and trails. A grant aims to reinvigorate the Jack A. Markell trail, which will serve as a travel and tourism draw with public art.

Kent County is bringing home the bacon … er, chicken

Michael Petit de Mange, county administrator of Kent County, touted the impact of agricultural production and agri-business, new processing and cold storage.

A Rockport Analytics study from 2018 that identified strengths in Delaware emphasized warehousing and distribution opportunities. Accordingly, Petit highlighted companies like NKS, Procter & Gamble and National Vinyl Products now calling Kent County home and bringing hundreds of jobs. Food processing is also a key, like Perdue with a net impact of $319 million.

The update on the 2018 study, Rockport 2.0, focuses on workforce development. More to come there.

Sussex County is mixing business with pleasure

While it’s best known as a tourist destination and leader in agriculture, Administrator Todd F. Lawson said Sussex County is in a big stage of economic development.

“That’s no accident,” he said. “In Sussex, our goal is to create and sustain a business environment where investments generate results.” Lawson highlighted a Frankford business owner bringing business from Maryland to Sussex county using the Site Readiness Fund as evidence these efforts are paying off.

The Delaware Coastal Business Park is home to JennyGems, a new lighting and plastics company, and a metal company that produced for the NYC subway. As Lawson put it: “A little bit of Sussex metal is in the city that never sleeps.”

Love glamping? Bet you didn’t realize a company in Delaware installs these adorable cottages and owns campgrounds from here to Florida. Last year, a 4% increase was predicted — and they chose to build an $8 million expansion in a Sussex County business park.

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Where can you keep up with new developments?

Companies: State of Delaware
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