If you build it, they will come — and the State of Delaware will help pay for it.
Businesses and public entities in Delaware that want to construct, renovate or improve infrastructure to sites with the purpose of attracting new businesses or expanding existing ones will soon have access to state funding, as the Site Readiness Fund is established with Gov. John Carney’s signing of Senate Bill 127.
The fund will provide “grants, loans or other economic assistance” to public and private entities that align with the goal of creating “permanent, quality, full-time jobs in Delaware, and attracting businesses to move here.
Applications will be administered in accordance with the existing Delaware Strategic Fund regulations and reviewed by the Council on Development Finance, which will make recommendations to the director of the Division of Small Business based on the viability and relevance of the proposed project.
The bill doesn’t state how much funding will be made available total, and per project.
Examples of the kinds of job-creating projects that may benefit from SB127 include the in-construction Wuxi-STA campus at the Middletown Business Center, the Great Outdoors Cottages manufacturing plant opening this fall at the Delaware Coastal Business Park in Georgetown, and the ThruPore Technologies expansion and relocation to Newark. While companies like these that choose to open offices, labs or a plant in Delaware may be aided by a Strategic Fund grant, the new Site Readiness Grant will provide funding to Delaware businesses that invest in construction and renovation projects to appeal to either out-of-state or local businesses looking for a place to establish themselves or grow here.
“This legislation will allow us to quickly convert existing properties to meet the needs of prospective employers, spurring growth and new business investment,” Carney said in a statement about the bill. “It’s just another way we are making Delaware a top choice for businesses to start here and stay here.”
The new fund supports the public-private model of the work done by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, which has operated for four years across the state.
“The DPP team is proving that the public-private economic development model works well to leverage Delaware’s distinctive capacity to collaborate,” said CSC President Rod Ward, who co-chairs DPP’s board of directors along with Carney, in a statement regarding the Wuxi-STA announcement. Partners in that project included the State of Delaware, the Town of Middletown, New Castle County, Delaware Technical and Community College, Chesapeake Utilities and others.-30-