Downtown Denton Main Street Projects
The Downtown Denton Main Street program is working hard to foster civic pride and promote economic vitality in our town. Some projects currently in the works include way-finding signs, banners, a welcome sign, local dining guides and flags.
Painted Electric Panels
Volunteers came together to paint the electric boxes along Market Street in downtown Denton. We would like to thank the following people for contributing their time and talents to beautifying the downtown area.
Denton Development Corporation Projects
Artsway at Denton
The Denton Development Corporation, a nonprofit entity, was established in 1998 to facilitate, manage, and execute redevelopment efforts targeting vacant and/or underutilized buildings in the Central Business District. In 2005, spearheaded by the DDC, the Town of Denton received designation as an Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District. An A&E District is a well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use are of a city in which a high concentration of arts and cultural facilitates serve as the anchor attraction. The State of Maryland was the first state in the country to sponsor Arts and Entertainment Districts as a way to stimulate the economy and improve quality of life. This legislation enables local jurisdictions, municipalities, counties, or a combination thereof, to apply for state designation for an Arts and Entertainment Districts within their boundaries and offer tax incentives as provided by law.
The benefits offered to selected districts include:
- Property tax credits for new construction or renovation of certain buildings that create live-work space for artists and/or space for arts and entertainment enterprises
- Income tax subtraction modification for income derived from artist work sold by “qualifying residing artists”
- Exemption from the Admissions and Amusement tax levied by an “arts and entertainment enterprise” or “qualifying residing artist” in a district.
As one of Maryland’s designated Districts, the Denton Arts & Entertainment District was developed as an economic revitalization strategy to accomplish the following outcomes:
- Adaptive mixed use redevelopment of blighted or vacant properties
- Expansion of the Market Street Retail/Shop District to include the A & E District
- Increase in street level activity (shops, art galleries, studios, arts venues)
- Creation of new street level retail shops and/or artist galleries
- Relocation of historic structures with the Fourth Street project area
Fourth Street (between Gay and Market Streets), located within Denton’s Arts & Entertainment, Central Business and Historic Districts, was in substandard physical condition and the underutilized business capacity detracted from attractiveness and momentum of the downtown business district. The Fourth Street Redevelopment Project was created through a partnership between Denton Development Corporation and the Town of Denton with vision that this street will become the ArtsWay at Denton, a center of cultural activity for the Town’s entire A&E district.
The redevelopment of the Fourth Street block of the A&E District has evolved into a collaborative effort between the DDC, the Town, the Caroline County Council of Arts, the Downtown Denton Main Street Program, as well as other community members. Primarily through grant funds, structures have been purchased within the Denton Artsway and rehabilitation phase is well underway.
More information available in this PDF.
Pedestrian Pathways (Completed)
A $50,000 grant was secured from the Community Legacy program to implement a pedestrian pathways within the Fourth Street Redevelopment project area. Components of the project include lighting, signage, pathways, access to artisan buildings, public art, and public outdoor venue space. The pathways provides inviting pedestrian walkways throughout the Fourth Street Redevelopment area, fostering connectivity between several targeted structures representing Denton’s oldest and most significant examples of Federal and Victorian styles of architecture.
The pathways provide a welcoming infrastructure to encourage patronage of the developing Arts and Entertainment District. General plans for the Fourth Street streetscape were completed in 2005. With assistance from a 2009 Maryland State Arts Council grant, these plans were further refined. Initial elements of the project’s implementation have begun with the Town of Denton has planted three Zelkova Serrata “Musashino” trees, (funded by the Forrest Conservation Fund) and the Caroline County Department of Correction’s work release program excavating the first pathway. A community mosaic art sculpture has been erected at one end of the Fourth Street area. The first completed Fourth Street structure, the Foundry, has also installed a large scale public art project.
Old Schoolhouse Property Redevelopment (Completed)
The purpose of this project was to acquire and renovate the building located at 512 Franklin Street, known as the “Old Schoolhouse” in Denton, Maryland. This building had been purchased privately in 1987 for use as an office building. The main floor area had been renovated, but was never leased. The building had remained vacant for 14 years and was subjected to vandalism and deterioration. The Denton Development Corporation completed a conceptual plan for the property and identified environmental hazards. The Denton Development Corporation worked with the Town to acquire and renovate the building. The rehabilitated structure will be managed by the Caroline County Public School System to promote start-up businesses and serve as a regional culinary training facility leased to a new non-profit culinary institute (the Chesapeake Culinary School) serving the Mid-Shore region. For more information please contact Donald Mulrine, project manager at 410-479-2050.
The Wharves at Choptank Crossing
The Wharves at Choptank Crossing reconnects the historic working riverfront of West Denton with the Town of Denton’s riverfront on the east side. Historically, the two sides of the river were linked by maritime trade and the distribution of goods from the Denton wharves. Later, with the decline of river freight (driven by the emergence of automobiles and trucks) and the replacement of the low profile bascule bridge with a high level bridge, the intimate, maritime roots that connected Denton with West Denton were severed.
The Wharves at Choptank Crossing project links the riverfronts again, providing a unique tourism destination for motorists and boaters, enhancing historic preservation and telling the stories of the many historic resources nearby. The project encompasses nearly 1,000 feet of Choptank riverfront including over 30 acres, two National Register Sites, an adjacent National Register Historic District, three National Register Vessels and access to the region’s most extensive water trail- The Choptank & Tuckahoe Rivers Trail.
The initial components of the Wharves at Choptank Crossing, include a half-million dollar (west side) river front visitor’s center/museum – the Joppa Steamboat Wharf Terminal and a land-based exhibit featuring the recently restored Chesapeake Bay Skipjack – F. C. Lewis, Jr. In addition, existing improvements to the east side riverfront include expanded boat ramp facilities, picnic areas, restroom facilities and parking for recreational boaters. Planning has commenced for other east side riverfront improvements and services including outboard wharves, a restaurant/marina and transportation linkages for bus and walking tours as well as a connecting cable barge ferry, linking the east and west sides of the riverfront.
The Wharves at Choptank Crossing will substantially enhance the facilities of Crouse Park for the residents of the Town of Denton and the surrounding area, and will also serve as a focal point for attracting visitors from out of the area, supporting the efforts of the Main Street Program and the 4th Street Arts and Entertainment District to augment the business climate of the town. The project is funded by a variety of state and federal grants, managed on behalf of the town and Caroline County by the Denton Development Corporation.
For more information about the Wharves project, contact Donald Mulrine at 410-479-2050.