RECREATION AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION TECHNICAL COMMITTEE
PRINCIPLES FOR PLANNING AND DESIGN OF STATE PARKLANDS WITHIN THE BLUEBALL PROJECT
Maximize Open Space within Project Boundaries for Both Passive and Active Recreation and Environmental Protection
State parklands on the West Side of Rt. 202 should be devoted primarily to passive recreation and habitat enhancement. A priority for State parklands on the West Side of Rt. 202 is the conversion of croplands, fields and the fill area into systems of wet and dry habitats that will address both stormwater quantity and quality. The goal is to address stormwater currently feeding directly into Alapocas Run, together with future stormwater runoff from Astra Zeneca, Transportation and Park development, in a manner that is both aesthetically pleasing and a net benefit to the environment. Development of hiking trails on state parklands should be encouraged as part of the design phase of the project. Indigenous and sustainable landscapes should be promoted.
An active recreation complex should be located on State parklands on the East Side of Rt. 202. The proposed relocation of Weldin road, and suggested development of other non-park roads in this area, should be designed so as to maximize contiguous State parkland. The active recreation complex should accommodate a compliment of multiple use fields, occupying between 5 and 15 acres, plus any associated amenities. In keeping with the natural character of the area, fields should be provided for low impact sports including soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse, but should not include football. Court games such as tennis or basketball will not be included. Priority should be given to providing a complex of four (4) soccer-type fields, with the possible the addition of other fields if space allows. All fields should have natural surfaces. Additional amenities to the active recreation complex should include a children's playground, "dog park" area and small picnic shelter. Restrooms, a maintenance facility and adequate parking facilities must also be included. Determination of which governmental agencies will be responsible for development, operation and maintenance of the above-mentioned complex will be addressed outside the Committee process.
The active recreation complex noted above complements existing adjoining active recreation opportunities available to the public. As part of the active recreation complex on state parklands, a teaching facility/driving range for golf of approximately 15 acres should be developed. Further, a goal of achieving an approximately 6,500 yard long course, or longer for Rock Manor Golf Course should be a priority. To achieve this goal, the current configuration of the entire course should be examined. Potential course improvement through redesign should focus on including stormwater management as a recreation attraction. The course should continue to be an affordable course. Consideration should be given to rerouting the Northern Delaware Greenway that now connects through Weldin Ridge to a new location along the edge of a redesigned golf course. The Committee believes any golf course enhancements must be tied to an easement, or other legal commitment that will keep the current Rock Manor Golf Course as permanently protected active parkland in perpetuity.
Renovate Historic Resources, Including the Blue Ball Dairy Complex, the Bird Husbands House and the Murphy House, For Reuse as Support Space That Will Benefit the Public.
The first priority for the above structures is to have them remain on their current sites and renovated for adaptive reuse. The historic viewsheds from these structures is important and must be factored into any road design. If final road alignments conflict with the current locations of any of these structures, the structure(s) affected will be relocated and renovated for adaptive reuse. Should the Weldin Husbands House be identified for acquisition as part of any transportation component of this project, this structure will be evaluated for structural integrity, and should be relocated and renovated for adaptive reuse if possible.
Greenway Trail System
As part of this project, the Northern Delaware Greenway should be constructed so as to connect between the City of Wilmington at the Brandywine River and Tally Road. The trail should cross Route 202 via an expansive and ascetically attractive underpass separated from vehicular traffic. Bicycle and pedestrian connections to the north and south of this project, including but not limited to the general vicinity of Alapocas Drive, Rockland Road, Children's Drive, Route 141/Murphy Road, Foulk Road, Augustine Cutoff and adjoining neighborhood roads must be integrated into the overall transportation plan.
Relocation/Extension of Rockland Road, Augustine Cut-off and Weldin Road
A committee goal is to minimize the length and impact of non-park roads carrying vehicular traffic through lands acquired as part of this project. Any such roads identified in the final transportation alignments should be done under an access easement between the Departments of Transportation (DelDOT) and Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) . Under this arrangement, DNREC would grant an access easement on State parklands for public roads, with the right-of way limited to roads having two (2) eleven feet travel lanes. Design of such roads must incorporate design elements that create a park environment.
The Blue Ball properties were not acquired to be a major solution to the water supply needs of northern New Castle County, and water storage will not come at the expense of the recreational amenities and adaptive reuse of historic structures commitments made to the community. Small-scale water storage from stormwater, designed and configured as ponds, could be accommodated if they also serve to support or enhance identified recreation or habitat needs. The Committee has concluded that a major water storage reservoir should not be located on the Blue Ball properties.
The committee endorses the reservation of a corridor to support a monorail or fixed rail transit system. This system is anticipated to serve the hospital complex, AstraZeneca, and may provide connections to bus service. The corridor should be aligned as close to existing Route 202 and Rockland Road as possible. Development of a "transit hub", which could include a parking lot and other commuter amenities, should be considered for the far northwest corner of public lands acquired for this project. The design of a transit hub, and mass transit, within the reserved corridor must minimize visual and physical impacts to the Blue Ball Dairy Complex.