A group of Sussex County community and business leaders have joined together to present a vision to Mayor Bill West and the Town Council to expand Georgetown’s historic claim to fame as the county seat by developing a Latino Marketplace which will celebrate the town’s diversity, support Latino business ownership, and rejuvenate downtown shopping and dining. The Marketplace would enhance Georgetown’s Norman Rockwell tradition by adding a Latino cultural flare through architectural detailing, landscaping, outdoor dining, and overall streetscape in a six block area along North Race Street. In short, the Marketplace will showcase and blend the best of Georgetown and is positioned to become a destination for visitors to nearby coastal communities, Sussex County’s growing retiree community, and the many local residents who routinely visit the town for business. The presentation will be on March 24th in a regularly scheduled zoom council meeting at 6:30 pm at zoom.us/join. Zoom Meeting ID: 975 9840 9222.
Historically known as the Sussex County Seat, more recently Georgetown has become known as a hub for one of the county’s fastest growing demographics, Latinos, who arrived in the town over 20 years ago, primarily to work in the poultry industry. The majority came directly from Guatemala and Mexico, and today they comprise almost 40% of the population there. In constant pursuit of the American dream, they operate 67 local businesses while others are highly employed in many of the region’s local growth industries, construction, landscaping, and tourism. In spite of their hard work and determination to achieve a better life, they continue to be marginalized and low-income. Through a community revitalization effort designed to boost their economic stability through business and asset development, they can play a new role in the town as an economic driver for all businesses. By showcasing their culture they will become a catalyst for an overall economic revival, bringing thousands of visitors with disposable income to enjoy all of what the town has to offer.
This effort is in complete alignment with federal, state and local comprehensive plans which prioritize commercial and housing revitalization efforts in distressed downtown areas. These priorities lay the groundwork for major investments in the effort as Georgetown is designated as an Opportunity Zone that provides federal tax incentives for private investors, a Downtown Development District that offers state funded rebates and tax incentives, and New Market Tax Credits that subsidize the costs of development.
The Latino Marketplace is also forming a collaborative of non-profit partners with experience serving the Latino community to co-locate and provide Latino businesses in Georgetown and Sussex County with a package of comprehensive business development services including business plan development, personal technical assistance, and access to credit. Personal financial coaching will also be available to all Latino residents to help them to establish and achieve their personal financial dreams. These efforts will build the capacity of the Latino community to prepare them to take advantage of the business and job opportunities that will accompany community revitalization.
For more information, contact Mary Dupont at 484-883-3015 or Patricia Rivera at 302-228-6689.