GEORGETOWN – Sussex County community and business leaders will present a plan to Georgetown Mayor Bill West and the Town Council to improve the county seat by developing a Latino marketplace that celebrates the town’s diversity, supports Latino business ownership, and rejuvenates downtown shopping and dining. The marketplace would add a Latino cultural flare with architectural details, landscaping, outdoor dining and streetscape in a six-block area along North Race Street.
“Imagine a cobblestone walking street lined with arches, flags, fountains, outdoor dining, and street art with a Latin American flavor. Thousands of people will visit Georgetown to enjoy Latino food and culture,” said Plaza Latina board member Javier Torrijos in a statement. Torrijos is also the chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission.
The marketplace will showcase the best of Georgetown and become a destination for visitors to coastal communities, Sussex County’s growing retiree community, and residents who routinely visit the town for business. The presentation will be made during a regularly scheduled zoom council meeting at 6:45 p.m. March 24 at zoom.us/j/92968605226.
Historically the Sussex County seat, Georgetown has become a hub for one of the county’s fastest-growing demographics, Latinos, who arrived in the town more than 20 years ago, primarily to work in the poultry industry. Most are from Guatemala and Mexico, and today they account for 40 percent of Georgetown’s population. In pursuit of the American dream, Latinos operate 67 local businesses while others work in the region’s local growth industries — construction, landscaping, and tourism. Now they can play a new role in Georgetown as an economic driver for all businesses.
“This effort aligns with federal, state and local comprehensive plans that prioritize commercial and housing revitalization in distressed downtown areas. We are excited to do this in Georgetown,” said business leader Charlie Burton in a statement, also a Plaza board member.
These priorities lay the groundwork for major investments because Georgetown is designated as an Opportunity Zone that provides federal tax incentives for private investors, a Downtown Development District that offers state rebates and tax incentives for business expansion, and New Market Tax Credits that subsidize development costs.
The Plaza Latina will also provide Latino businesses in Georgetown and Sussex County with services such as business plan development, technical assistance and access to credit. Financial coaching will be available to all Latino residents. These efforts will prepare the Latino community to take advantage of the business and job opportunities stemming from community revitalization.