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Newport to become Delaware’s first Complete Community Enterprise District

Walkability in Cities and Towns

The city of Newport has plans to become more accessible, walkable, beautiful, and livable in years to come. Newport is partnering with New Castle County to become the first transit-friendly Complete Community Enterprise District (CCED) in Delaware.

It started back in 2016, when the Delaware Legislature passed a new law - the Healthy and Transit-Friendly Development Act - to help any community that wanted to become more walkable, bikeable and transit-rich. Newport is now in discussions with New Castle County to strike a big agreement with DelDOT to create the first CCED in Delaware. If they are successful, it will mean putting DelDOT to work making investments in Newport so that residents and visitors will be able to walk and bike safely, have improved transit service, and make fewer car trips. There are also plans to add a train station connecting Newport to stations in Newark, Wilmington, and Philadelphia, which will make it easier for residents to commute to work and ease traffic between the cities. Bicyclists will be able to take advantage of a planned spur to the Jack A. Markell Trail, which originates at the Wilmington Riverfront and runs to Old New Castle.

On average, seniors in the U.S. outlive their ability to drive by seven to ten years. AARP is working with Bike Delaware to support the project because they believe no one should be forced to move out of their home just because they are no longer able to drive. For many people, the key to remaining independent is easy access to transit. But seniors aren’t the only ones who will benefit from Delaware’s first CCED. There is a financial benefit for younger families, too. AAA estimates the cost of owning, fueling, insuring and maintaining a car at more than $10,000 per year. So, any household that can get by with only one car (or none) can really stretch their family budget while enjoying a more active lifestyle. CCED is a powerful strategy to enable homeownership and affordable housing. If you plug the cost savings into any mortgage calculator, you’ll discover a family that avoids the expenses of owning a car can afford an additional $200,000 on a home mortgage loan.

Newport-area developer Harvey Hanna is enthusiastic about the CCED concept. They have already redeveloped the former GM assembly plant on Boxwood Road (which had closed back in 2009). The site now hosts a modern fulfillment center, providing jobs and revitalizing the area. Now they have big plans for the development of mixed-use properties in the heart of Newport.

AARP is working with Bike Delaware to support the project, offering technical assistance that will prioritize safer street design, accessible housing, convenient transportation options, and vibrant public spaces. AARP’s Livability Index is a scoring system that allows people to see how their community ranks. Newport currently ranks 48/100, with a score of 50 being “average”.

“AARP fully supports this effort to make Newport a great place to live, work, and play for people of all ages and abilities,” said George Meldrum, AARP Delaware State President.  “It fits right in with our mission to make life better for all and to give people more choice as to how they live as they age.”

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