Dover is about to look a whole lot different! A major restoration and redevelopment is underway and Dover who may have been a sleeper town in northwest Morris County is about to get a little Hoboken-ish!
Incorporated as a village in 1826 and as a town in 1869, Dover was once a manufacturing hub. During the second half of the twentieth century, Dover’s vibrant downtown lost population and jobs to suburban growth. Like many towns across the state and the nation, it suffered out-migration and plummeting property values. Recently, Dover has experienced resurgence because of infill development and redevelopment and has become a regional center with a culturally diverse population, although the median income is considerably lower than the average for Morris County and the state.
A new construction project estimated to cost about $57 million is just one of several redevelopment projects in Dover’s pipeline. It will surround North Sussex Street, which will be permanently closed to traffic and partially replaced with a public, landscaped promenade, or courtyard.
The project, which was designed with “millennials” in mind – people born between 1975 and 1994 who are electronically-savvy but in debt and want affordable housing and dining and shopping opportunities. This is a real game changer for the town! It’s a Dover of the future – one that is prosperous, diverse and a destination. There were years of vision and hard work that went into this planning. There will be great restaurants – new and existing that will help achieve the goal of retaining people who grow up in town to stay there.
The Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plan, prepared by Heyer, Gruel & Associates, was adopted in October 2006. It addresses some of Dover’s key physical planning issues: mass transit, economic development, public spaces, and pedestrian and vehicular circulation. It is one of only few plans in New Jersey that employs innovative zoning code standards that emphasize form and function rather than numerical density calculations. This creates a focus on a strong sense of place rather than technical density allowances.
The concept of Live – Work – Play developments have been getting increasingly more popular throughout Morris County. There are also impending and similar projects in Parsippany. The main objective of these new hip concepts is of course to attract and keep younger professionals in the area. Morris County has an aging population so redevelopments like these may be what combats the concerns of demographic and economic forecasters. Plus, it will be fun to live here!