Middletown, DE – Speaking at the Appoquinimink Library Wednesday afternoon, New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer announced the County’s commitment to create new parks in Southern New Castle County, Red Lion, and Edgemoor. County Executive Meyer also expressed a commitment to increased open space in and around the Route 4 corridor outside Newark. Further, Meyer announced the creation of a Task Force to provide data-driven recommendations for acquiring and developing future parkland. Joined by County Councilmembers Lisa Diller and George Smiley, and members of the County’s Special Services, Land Use, and Community Services Departments, Meyer spoke about the importance of creating new parks in communities of the county that are currently underserved.
“Despite these challenging fiscal times, we will continue to invest in open space and parks. Today, we outlined our priorities and a way forward. It is important that we find ways to provide more equitable access to parks across the county,” said County Executive Matthew Meyer.
In an effort to be fiscally responsible, County Executive Meyer unveiled plans to turn already owned county land in the Red Lion Area into a 78-acre district park. New Castle County has already acquired this land and will move forward with creating a master plan to design a park easily accessible to the Red Lion area.
In addition, newly announced park space in Edgemoor will help provide an underserved community with safe recreation space. The park will include a playground area, basketball court and walking trails, enhancing that community’s ability to get outside and play with their neighbors.
County Executive Meyer also shared the plan for a Parks Task Force whose first priority is to research and recommend a location for a park in Southern New Castle County. The Parks Task Force will also provide data-based recommendations on future parkland acquisition and prioritize enhancements to existing parks. The task force will make recommendations using the following guiding principles:
- Fiscal Responsibility
- Good deal for taxpayers, looking to leverage private and public funding
- Make access to parks more equitable across the county
- Protect sensitive spaces for generations to come
- Increase connectivity – make our parks and communities better connected via walking and biking trails
Meyer named Ed O’Donnell, Senior Fellow and Instructor at the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, to chair the Task Force. “I am looking forward to working with a well-rounded group of people who have the best interests of the residents of New Castle County at heart. The fiscal dimensions of this effort are very important, not only regarding acquisition of any land, but also regarding development costs, operating costs, and maintenance costs,” said O’Donnell.
Finally, Meyer announced planned improvements for multiple current County parks, including playground equipment installation, improvements to basketball courts, installing and improving pavilions, creating trails, and making repairs to the mansion and conservatory at Rockwood Park. Currently, some of these planned projects are stalled, as several County Council members refuse to support approve a bonding authority ordinance, in spite of their previous votes in favor of these projects.