Downtown Newark PartnershipDec 23, 2014 10:15PM ● By Kerigan Butt
This year, the Downtown Newark Partnership (DNP) celebrates its 16th anniversary of improving, enhancing and marketing downtown Newark as a great place to eat, shop and enjoy time with friends and family. The DNP’s strength comes from its broad support base of merchants and volunteers, and has achieved huge success, surpassing $150 million in private investment in the downtown area, and becoming known as the “hottest sub-market in Delaware” among the commercial real estate community. We look forward to even more great things on the horizon as the Newark Shopping Center is rejuvenated and the business community continues to prosper.
Keeping Newark clean and safe
Solar-powered trash compactors increase collection efficiency
In an effort to improve recycling opportunities for the public downtown as well as collection efficiency, the Public Works and Water Resources Department has installed several solar-powered trash/recycling compactors on East Main Street. These units, made by Big Belly, were partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, and have so far been successful in allowing the city to reduce collections to approximately once per week at the stations. With the Big Belly clean management alert system, supervisors are advised via e-mail when the compactors reach factory-set fullness levels for recommended collection. The strategic placement of the trial compactors has allowed us to more accurately determine high usage locations for the deployment of the remaining 27 dual compactor units. Upon the final installation of the remaining compactors, Main Street trash and recycling collections will be reduced from a near-daily operation to an on-demand collection, significantly reducing our carbon footprint. This will allow us to divert labor to other, more pressing needs in the city.
Newark Police Department working hard to prevent crime
The Newark Police Department continues to see a decrease a crime in both serious and minor criminal offenses so far in 2014. When looking at the time frame of Jan. 1, 2013 through Sept. 13, 2013 compared to Jan. 1, 2014 to Sept. 13, 2014, burglaries are down 15.9 percent, thefts are down 23.6 percent, serious assaults are down 53.6 percent and criminal mischief incidents are down 24.9 percent. The crime decrease can be attributed to a combination of technology (downtown surveillance cameras) and police deployment. NPD’s specialized units and patrol officers conduct foot and vehicular patrols throughout the city around the clock, in both a proactive fashion and reactive fashion when a crime trend pops up.
NPD updates its crime statistics weekly and they are easily viewed online by going to www.cityofnewarkde.us and clicking on Departments > Police > Administrative Report. A crime map can be viewed at www.raidsonline.com. If you are interested in receiving the latest news releases, safety information and crime prevention tips from the Newark Police Department, follow us on one of the social media outlets: Facebook: www.facebook.com/NewarkDelawarePoliceDepartment; Twitter: @newarkdepd; or Instagram: @newarkdepolice.
Not sure what to get for that special someone for a birthday, holiday, graduation or other special occasion? Check out the Downtown Newark Gift Card program. The cards are accepted at more than 70 downtown restaurants, shops and service establishments, and even in our pay-to-park lots. Gift cards may be purchased at the City of Newark Downtown Parking Office, located on the second floor of the Galleria at 45 E. Main St.; and the Planning & Development Department, located on the second floor of the City of Newark Municipal Building at 220 S. Main St., as well as at every downtown event. Purchases may also be made over the phone by calling 302-366-7155 or 302-366-7030.
Coming downtown and worried about parking? Stop worrying. With four municipal parking lots and plenty of on-street parking, shopping and dining downtown is convenient and hassle-free. To help make your shopping and dining experience even more enjoyable, nearly 60 downtown businesses are signed up to participate in the Newark Merchant Validated Parking program for the municipal lots. Customers of the participating businesses may park for free for a period of time. More businesses are being added all the time. For an up-to-date list of merchant validation locations, go to www.enjoydowntownnewark.com/Parking or look for the “Newark’s Great We Validate” sticker in the windows of participating businesses.
Parking downtown just got smarter! In response to customer requests, City Council approved the purchase and installation of “smart” parking meters that are capable of accepting payments by credit card. After several months of testing to determine the best solution for Newark, the Parking Division earlier this year installed IPS Group meters with a digital display, without any additional cost to our patrons. Curious about how the meters function? IPS has a “how to” video online about how to navigate the meters’ functions. Check it out at: http://vimeo.com/65824595
40th Annual Turkey Trot
Delaware’s second-oldest consecutively run race is on
Saturday, Nov. 22 at Handloff Park, on Barksdale Road in Newark. Both courses
(5K and 10K) are T.A.C. Certified. There will be 10 men’s and 10 women’s
divisions in each run. The first 250 registrants will receive long-sleeve
T-shirts. Prizes will be awarded to overall winners, as well as winners in age
group categories for each run. Overall
first, second and third pace awards will be given for the 5K Walk. Be
sure to list your age on race day so we can accurately place you in the
appropriate division. Random awards will be given during the awards ceremony,
following the 5K. All winners must be present during the ceremony to collect
their awards. Please fill out the registration form and return it to the Parks
and Recreation office, or register online – early registrations get a reduced
Once again this year, the Ancient Order of Hibernians will be collecting coats that will be distributed to people in need throughout the area. Anyone interested in making a donation may bring coats in good condition to the race.
Enjoy Thanksgiving Day morning in the company of Newark neighbors and friends. The Parks and Recreation Department, area merchants and volunteers celebrate our 28th year of gathering together to offer this special breakfast. Our mission is to create a warm and caring atmosphere among community members, older adults and area students who are unable to share the holiday with family members or a companion. Join us for a hearty breakfast and a little fellowship. This year’s menu will include pancakes, eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee, juice, and tea. Advanced registration is suggested. Volunteer assistance is needed. Please call 366-7069 or 366-7060 for more information. This year, we are holding an optional food drive for the Delaware Food Bank. Please bring a canned item (fruit, vegetables, meat, tuna) the day of the breakfast and we will make sure it gets delivered to the Food Bank (www.fbd.org).
Winterfest, a joint effort between the Newark Parks and Recreation Department and the University of Delaware, is always a great way to start off the holiday season. Scheduled for Friday, Dec. 5 (rain date Saturday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.), Winterfest includes holiday entertainment, roasting chestnuts, caroling, tree-lighting, ice-carving demonstrations, and much more. The Delaware Special Olympics will once again be holding the annual Reindeer Run in conjunction with Winterfest (www.sode.org). This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Downtown Newark Restaurant Week
Downtown Newark’s annual Restaurant Week is a culinary celebration highlighting downtown’s diverse restaurants and their offerings.Restaurant Week is known for its affordability and great food in a fun and vibrant area. From Monday, Jan. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 25, downtown restaurants will offer special menus highlighting the best they have to offer, at the right price. Three tiers of prix-fixe meals are offered, with some restaurants offering more than one tier during the week. Each restaurant develops menus for the week according to their clientele and tier(s). Participating restaurants, menus and tiers for each restaurant, as well as the full schedule of entertainment for the week, will be available in January at www.enjoydowntownnewark.com.
The tiers include Friends and Family Fun meals that feed a group of four people, two-course lunches, and two-course dinners and three-course dinners.
McKees Solar Park: Crowd-funded green energy
Construction is wrapping up at McKees Solar Park, a 230-kilowatt solar array, which is enough to power between 26 and 36 homes. This project will convert a former brownfield site into a renewable energy resource, and is providing unique opportunities for citizen participation in its funding.
McKees Park is a 3.91-acre brownfield site off East Cleveland Avenue in Newark that is being redeveloped into a solar farm. This renewable power source will reduce the city's carbon footprint and serve all residents by reducing the city's peak power demand, and consequently lowering the wholesale cost of power, generating solar renewable energy credits, and bringing locally produced green energy to the city's electric users.
Construction of the solar park is well underway, as all concrete ballasts have been poured, sitework is nearing completion and all of the brackets to which the solar panels will be mounted have been installed. The first solar panel was mounted on Sept. 4, and installers quickly completed several rows in one solar array. Work to install the remainder of the 900 panels, with 960 inverters to connect the power generated to the city's electric grid, will rapidly continue over the coming weeks.
The solar park was initially approved by City Council in 2012, and more recently, the Conservation Advisory Commission and city leadership have undertaken efforts for residents and businesses to share in the park's success by making tax-deductible donations to support the park. "We are fortunate to have a population showing so much interest and support for this project," said finance director Lou Vitola.
In addition to outright donations, which are tax-deductible, residential electric users have the opportunity to invest $50 to displace 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of their monthly usage with a 100-kWh block of power generated from McKees Solar Park per month, billed at prevailing rates. The investment also results in a $1 electric service rebate, which is credited on the monthly electric bill for 120 months. These investments are available on a first-come, first-served basis until the park's output is fully subscribed, at which time the city will resume efforts to offer green energy on a premium subscription basis backed by renewable power generated outside of Newark.
In an effort to make donations more accessible, the city has subscribed to GoFundMe, a crowdfunding platform that allows residents to donate at any time online, in addition to being able to donate by calling or stopping into the Municipal Building. For more information, visit greennewarkde.us, or call the City of Newark Finance Department at 302-366-7085, option 6.