The New Castle County Parks Task Force has approved recommendations for county parks in the Middletown-Odessa-Townsend area with a regional park on Marl Pit Road near Middletown as the “most desired” to implement.
In all, the task force made 14 recommendations concerning new parks and policy issues, but left public comment open until Dec. 7. After that, the group’s chairman will forward a letter about the recommendations to County Executive Matt Meyer who created the committee.
Ed O’Donnell, chairman, said the group didn’t narrow the recommendations down to one or two because “there are a lot of things in play. There are several sites.”
The first recommendation says, “The Marl Pit Road area is by far the most desired for a regional park,” in a draft recommendation report approved unanimously by the group.
A survey of residents showed Marl Pit Road had the highest preference followed by a park at Bayberry on Boyd’s Corner Road; land on Wiggins Mill Road; land at the Back Creek development on Churchtown Road; and land in the Whitehall development area.
In the report, the recommendation for Marl Pit Road says the county should begin to plan for a park on the county-owned 25 acres, called Parkside, which is adjacent to an spray irrigation farm called Water Farm 2.
Recommendation two suggests the county begin planning for phase one of the Wiggins Mill Park between Middletown andTownsend. That plan would include sports fields “known to be needed by the M.O.T. Little League and Delaware United Soccer.
The task force ranked all 14 recommendations by short-term, mid-term, long-term, and ongoing.
Both the Marl Pit Road and Wiggins Mill Park locations were labeled short-term, which the committee considered less than 12 months. Financing for the parks could be in the next county budget, effective July 2018, and in the capital improvement plan.
Another short-term suggestion is in the seventh recommendation: “The county should continue to work with Middletown on the possibility of a joint partnership” on establishing sports fields on Levels Road. The recommendation is referring to a sports complex proposed on town-owned land next to the Charles E. Price Memorial Park. Recently, the town government released a request for proposals for the park, but nobody submitted a firm plan.
Another suggestion by the task force is about a park at Bayberry, but the group considered it for the long-term and only under certain conditions. The park at Back Creek would be “mid-term” described as one to five years away with conditions. Long-term is more than six years away.
Public comments are being taken until Dec. 7. Interested residents can contact the committee and learn more about it at the website, nccde.org/1384/Parks-Task-Force.