New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer is expected to soon decide on establishing a new park in the southern part of the county.
A task force, which Meyer created to suggest creating a park or parks, recently submitted its recommendations to Meyer regarding sites in the Middletown Odessa Townsend area.
One of the favorites on the list was establishing a park on Marl Pit Road next to Water Farm #2 although many other parks were recommended in the short term for sites in the greater Middletown area.
“The county executive is taking a careful look at the task force’s recommendations and considering them as his administration makes plans to establish a new park in southern New Castle County,” said Jason Miller, the county’s director of communications and Meyer’s spokesman.
Meyer will decide in the “coming weeks” about establishing the new park using information and recommendations from the task force and from other sources, Miller said in a Dec. 28 interview.
In the task force’s 139-page report dated Dec. 15, several recommendations for the short term were made for a new park. The short term was defined as starting within a year.
Some notable short-term recommendations are:
*Plan for park in vicinity of Marl Pit Road. Start with 25 acres, which the county owns adjacent to Water Farm 2, and possibly expand into the nearby 900 acres the county also owns if infrastructure allows. Included in the recommendation is a map which shows bike and walking trails.
*Begin to plan for the first phase of Wiggins Mill Park. This would include the construction of sports fields, known to be needed by the M.O.T. Little League and the Delaware Union Soccer.
*Continue to work with the Middletown government on the possibility of a partnership regarding sports fields now being reconsidered by the town as part of the sports complex on Levels Road or other locations being considered for active recreation.
Besides short-term suggestions, the task force made ongoing recommendations, including urging the county to work with the developers of Whitehall to see if there are any opportunities for a public park or recreational facilities in the future with a possible linkage to the C&D Canal Wildlife Management Area.
Ed O’Donnell, chairman of the task force, wrote a personal message to the county executive when he submitted the task force’s findings.
“The recommendations, including a minority recommendation, are an important beginning for the provision of a quality parks and recreation system for the underserved area of southern New Castle County,” O’Donnell wrote.
“In addition, several of the recommendations can be utilized to provide for parks and recreational facilities in other underserved areas of the county such as Edgemoor, Red Lion and the Route 4 corridor,” he wrote.
Between Aug. 23 and Nov. 27, the task force held six public meetings and 76 people attended them, Miller said. Additionally, more than 600 comments from the public have been received by the task force through its e-mail account, through its Facebook livestreams, and in response to a web-based survey.