Contact: Matt Chesser, Delaware State Parks, 302-739-9235; or Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC releases Fort DuPont Master Plan
final draft for site renovation and reuse
Additional ideas and input for complex now sought from public
DOVER (April 4, 2014) – DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation has released the final draft of the Fort DuPont Master Plan, setting the stage for the reuse and rehabilitation of the underutilized former military facility. DNREC will continue to seek public comment on the Fort DuPont-Governor Bacon complex project for ideas and input, which can be emailed to FtDuPont_MasterPlan_Comments@state.de.us.
The 325-acre complex, designated as a National Historic District, is located along the Delaware River and is delineated by the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on the south and the Branch Canal, currently separating it from Delaware City on the north. It includes Fort DuPont State Park, Governor Bacon Health Center, and a complex of state-owned buildings and residences. Fort Delaware State Park sits across from the property on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware Bay.
The master plan focuses on reuse and redevelopment strategies for the portion of the Fort DuPont Complex located northeast of Route 9. The Fort DuPont property is distinguished by its extraordinary waterfront location, its network of riverside trails, recreational amenities, and historic buildings and landscapes. It occupies a strategic location within the state and region as the northern gateway to the Delaware Bayshore and an anchor point on the Michael Castle Trail.
DNREC partnered with Delaware City to coordinate a diverse group of state and local stakeholders and community members have worked together since 2011 to develop the master plan for the Fort DuPont Complex, which aims to preserve the site’s historic buildings and landscapes while accommodating new private sector and institutional uses to reactivate the site and promote economic progress for current and future generations.
“Fort DuPont has played an important role in Delaware’s history – but the fort’s history is threatened as its historic structures deteriorate from neglect,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “The Fort DuPont Master Plan provides a framework for the potential limited development and improved resiliency of the site, and demands that the best science drives all future decision-making. By strategically breathing new life into the Fort DuPont complex, we will create a destination that connects with the majestic Delaware Bayshore, Fort Delaware, the Michael Castle C&D Canal Trail, and the many exciting new projects now under way in Delaware City.”
The Master Plan establishes a shared community vision and implementation strategy to evolve Fort DuPont into a model “live-work-learn-play-visit” community. Some reuses envisioned in the Master Plan include: a marina, senior housing, healthcare facilities and services, ecotourism, sports and recreation, and a corporate/educational campus.
The draft plan calls for significant analysis of the hydrology of the site, which has experienced challenges from flooding in the past, and which will be exacerbated with more extreme weather events and sea level rise in the future. Any future development of the complex will be required to meet strict standards of flood plain management and sea level rise adaptation. Such restrictions have already limited the redevelopment footprint of the Fort DuPont master plan and could require further modifications in the future.
This long-term vision for the reuse of Fort DuPont builds upon the site’s National Historic District status, the existing assets of the park, and the area’s cultural, natural and recreational amenities. As Governor Markell has stated, “Fort DuPont’s rich history, distinctive architecture, and abundant natural resources serve as a solid foundation for the site’s rebirth.”
The final draft of the Fort DuPont Master Plan is available for review or download on the DNREC website. Ideas and input on the project can be emailed to FtDuPont_MasterPlan_Comments@state.de.us
Vol. 44, No. 98