Georgetown, Del., July 15, 2014: Sussex County is moving closer to having a new park for residents and visitors to enjoy, with County officials giving the go-ahead on a low-impact design featuring trails and open space on a former golf course west of Seaford.
County Council, at its Tuesday, July 15, 2014, meeting, approved a concept design for the Woodland Park that was developed after more than two years of public meetings and working with community stakeholders. Council directed the County’s Engineering staff to move forward on soliciting bids for designing and building a 20-acre park that would feature walking trails and open space for passive recreation on the site along Woodland Road, just outside Seaford.
Bidding for the project is expected to begin within 45 days, with selection of the winning bid expected this fall. Construction on the $142,900 base project could begin as early as October, with completion expected by the end of the year. Funding for the project is expected to come through State grants the County is pursuing, as well as County capital funds budgeted this fiscal year.
“This will be a welcomed addition for the Western Sussex community, particularly around the Seaford and Woodland areas,” County Council President Michael H. Vincent said. “There are many beautiful parks and outdoor spaces in the county, especially at the beach, but fewer options farther inland. I’m hopeful this new park gives the public one more area where they can walk, bike, or simply sit outside to enjoy the beauty and splendor that is Sussex County.”
The park is planned for a portion of the former Woodland Golf Course, which the County purchased in May 2010 in preparation for the Nanticoke River dredging project. That years-long effort to deepen the main channel from nine to 12 feet, led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has since been completed. Sussex County, as the local partner, was tasked with securing a suitable site to deposit material dredged from the river.
Since only the back half of the 41-acre site was needed to deposit dredge material, the County formulated a plan to utilize the remaining 20 acres, at the front of the parcel, into what could become a park. Preliminary designs, based on public input, eventually settled on a low-impact park that would feature a natural wildlife setting and trails ideal for biking and walking, County Engineer Michael Izzo said.
Once complete, the park would be publicly accessible with no charge to enter, open daily from dawn to dusk.
The Woodland Park joins the James Farm Ecological Preserve, donated to the County in the 1990s and now managed by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, as the only public park spaces owned by County government. County Council members suggested a local “friends” group or similar organization should be sought to partner with the County, just as with the James Farm, to help maintain the new park.
The project is being managed by the County’s Engineering Department, with support from Pennoni Associates Inc.