Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Former NVF site in Yorklyn undergoing unprecedented
revitalization for amenities and continued development
DOVER (April 18, 2016) – Governor Jack Markell and DNREC Secretary David Small were joined by DelDOT Deputy Secretary Nicole Majeski, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, FEMA Hazard Mitigation Specialist Jake Schmierer, state legislators, business developers, environmental groups, and members of the community today to announce revitalization milestones at the former NVF manufacturing site in Yorklyn. The event highlighted site remediation – including toxics removal and flood mitigation – along with new public amenities and plans for continued redevelopment.
"Yorklyn’s revitalization is a shining example of how much we can accomplish when we roll up our sleeves, work across public agencies, and engage with non-profit and private sector partners,” said Governor Markell. “The result of this collaboration and shared investment is a mixed-use residential, commercial, and recreational neighborhood that will help drive economic growth and improve the quality of life in our state.”
The redevelopment of the site creates an innovative model whereby the state and private sector are co-developing under a single master plan, resulting in a residential and destination community where the state retains ownership of a portion of the site dedicated to recreational use.
“Yorklyn is being revitalized as a vibrant and scenic centerpiece while still retaining its mill town heritage,” said DNREC Secretary Small. “We have made major strides in transforming the area while removing nearly of century of contamination. We’ve also reduced flooding in the area while preserving and restoring historic features. The partnerships and business opportunities being forged are a testament to the tremendous support and commitment of everyone involved.”
The partnership includes private developers, neighboring organizations, and DNREC’s Divisions of Parks & Recreation, Waste & Hazardous Substances, Watershed Stewardship, and Water. Partners include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the EPA, local, state and federal legislators, business developers and strong support from neighboring property owners, as well as conservation and recreational organizations in the Yorklyn area. The collaboration is one of the most inventive undertaken in Delaware and can serve as a national model for other similar projects.
“Some people might think that Delaware is at a disadvantage because of our small size, but in fact that is what gives us a great advantage when it comes to getting things done,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “The coordinated effort to clean up and revitalize the NVF site in Yorklyn is a true example of what happens when the public and private sector come together for the good of the community.”
“This partnership between both public and private entities is outstanding evidence of what can be accomplished when they work together for the good of the public,” said Sen. Chris Coons. “The project also exemplifies our state’s commitment to our state’s greatest resources, nature.”
“Today’s event is about new opportunities in a changing economy,” said U.S. Rep. John Carney. “For more than a century, Delawareans came to work here every day making paper and specialty products for NVF. When the facility closed in 2009, NVF left a crumbling building and years of environmental damage. The amount of work that’s gone into cleaning this site up by federal, state, and private partners is remarkable. And we’re on the cusp of some very exciting housing and business development. I’m looking forward to seeing this as a clean, vibrant, and revitalized community once again.”
Environmental Clean-up, Reducing Flooding and Improving Water Quality
The site is undergoing an environmental cleanup of nearly a century of historic contamination, the creation of a series of wetland and flood mitigation sites, and a comprehensive stream restoration that will not only improve water quality and protect fish in the Red Clay Creek, but will also remove contaminant sources and reduce severe flooding that has resulted in significant economic impacts to Yorklyn.
DNREC’s Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances’ Site Investigation and Restoration Section is leading the remediation of the brownfield site, including building demolition, asbestos removal and cleaning up decades of zinc contamination in the soil and groundwater. More than 233 tons of contaminants have been removed from the property.
Flooding problems are being addressed by the Divisions of Parks & Recreation and Waste & Hazardous Substances through the creation of several wetlands this year and into 2017 that will filter contaminants and lessen the effects of flooding.
DNREC’s Divisions of Watershed Stewardship and Water are assisting in the efforts, working with FEMA, monitoring flood-reduction efforts and water quality of the Red Clay Creek.
“This project represents collaboration between federal, state and local partners to make a substantial impact in the state of Delaware,” said FEMA Region III Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney. “By working with our partners at DNREC, as well as the state of Delaware, the US Environmental Protection Agency and others, we were able to mitigate the flood risk to this property, acquire and demolish an office building in the flood plain, and assist with site restoration to help transform the NVF site into a beautiful public space.”
To date, more than $7 million has been spent to remediate the site, including almost $5 million in state funding, about $1.6 million from FEMA for property acquisition, building demolition and site restoration of an office building, and $426,000 from EPA for asbestos removal.
“EPA is pleased that our Brownfields grant to DNREC facilitated the cleanup of part of this site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Through true collaboration, this site will become a brownfields success model that stimulates the local economy and creates jobs while improving the quality of life for the local community.”
New Projects and Amenities
With the protection of 119 acres of the former NVF property, major steps have been taken toward transforming the area into a residential, commercial, conservation and recreation area.
NVF lands have been combined with adjacent state park preserve lands encompassing more than 400 acres. Approximately 90 percent of the land will be open space with a roughly six-mile country-road style trail that will be used for walking, biking, jogging and horseback riding. A new access road into the site has been completed.
Already, 1.5 miles of trails have been constructed for use by hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and vintage car enthusiasts. DNREC and DelDOT are updating plans to add new trails to the site, which will connect to nearby communities, under Gov. Markell’s Statewide Trails Initiative – the goal of which is to connect communities, reduce emissions and increase healthy lifestyles. A new trail will also be built connecting NVF with the Center for Creative Arts.
“The specific contribution DelDOT is making to the NVF partnership today is presenting a concept plan for the construction of a multiuse path along Yorklyn Road that will connect the NVF site to the intersection with Yorkridge Trail and Spring House Lane,” said DelDOT Deputy Secretary Nicole Majeski. “When complete, it will connect the NVF site to the Red Clay Creek Valley Byway with its recreational and natural assets.”
The town center will remain intact as many of the existing historic buildings are being renovated. The design and redevelopment of new buildings includes the reuse of wood, stone and other existing materials that will blend with the 1920s architectural style of the area – complementing the existing Marshall Steam Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of steam-powered cars in the country, and other landmarks. In addition, arrangements have been finalized for relocating three repurposed historic bridges from sites around the country for use on the property.
Soon to come
· Railbikes – a recreational offering from the Rail Explorers company – will be available to the public beginning April 21. The pedal-powered bikes offer a unique and healthy experience found nowhere else in the state.
· A core residential area offering townhouses compatible with the site and the surrounding area is under contract to be constructed by DC Squared, a company owned by Drake Cattermole, Partner, Tresid Group, LLC. “Converting a contaminated and visually unpleasant factory into this wonderful concept would never occur without the forward-thinking, logical vision and private/public cooperation of Governor Markell and DNREC,” said Cattermole. “I am proud to contribute to Yorklyn Village.”
· Deteriorating buildings have been removed as part of the commercial development of the plan. Other businesses that will serve new residents, attract visitors to the area and create local jobs are in the planning stages.
· The new Dew Point Brewery Company, a micro-brewery, is already on-site, soon to be open to the public.
· Restauranteur Dan Butler, owner of the well-known restaurants Toscana, Tonic and Brandywine Prime, is developing a concept for a destination restaurant.
· The Delaware Symphony Orchestra and DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation are collaborating on plans for an amphitheater that will serve as the Symphony’s home base for summer outdoor concerts. DSO will manage the scheduling and production of presentations, including bringing other local, regional and national acts, and other artistic activities to the site. “We are excited about this partnership between the Delaware Symphony Orchestra and the Division of Parks and Recreation,” said DSO Executive Director Alan Jordan. “The project conjures images of Ravinia (summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1936), where patrons can hop on a train to escape daily trials and land in an environment of fine dining, recreation, and great culture.” DSO Music Director David Amado added, “Beautiful New Castle County will have a place where people can gather under the stars listening to the wonderful Delaware Symphony play great music. How wonderful it is to know that the state and our Governor recognize the importance of the arts and culture in making our communities vital.”
· A public equestrian center adjacent to the NVF site is being planned, as the result of a10-acre land donation by local residents.
· Renovations of a new Delaware State Parks office will be complete in August.
Other new amenities will be announced as they become finalized.
An updated version of the Auburn Valley Master Plan for recreation, conservation and redevelopment, along with DelDOT’s proposed trail linking NVF to Hockessin is under consideration, and the first round of the public’s input will be gathered later today at an Open House hosted by DNREC and DelDOT.
Vol. 46, No.133