Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902 or Greg Layton, DelDOT Public Relations, 302-760-2075.
Gov. Markell, DNREC Sec. O’Mara and Sen. Blevins announce
plans for a new pedestrian and bicycle trail in Elsmere
Urban trail will connect two public parks, public facilities,
residential neighborhoods and provide quality of life benefits
ELSMERE, Del. (June 23, 2014) – Today, Governor Jack Markell, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, and Delaware Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins met with Elsmere Mayor Steven Burg and council members to announce plans and funding for a new pedestrian and bicycle trail in the town. When complete, the trail will enhance outdoor recreation and improve the quality of life for residents through increased opportunities for healthy activities and connecting with nature.
“Trail-related activities are the number one outdoor recreational activity in Delaware, and communities throughout the state are embracing all the benefits trails have to offer,” said Governor Markell. “This trail will attract visitors to Elsmere, boost the local economy and enrich the lives of residents by offering opportunities for them to enjoy the outdoors, be physically active and lead healthier lives.”
When completed, this urban trail will extend 1-mile and connect two city parks – Maple Avenue and Fairgrounds – and link residents with public facilities, playgrounds, picnic areas and residential neighborhoods. The trail will provide access to Maple, Tamarack and Filbert Avenues and encourage residents and visitors to park their cars, walk along the trails and visit the two parks. The location was chosen because of its proximity to residential neighborhoods that are underserved by walking and cycling facilities.
"Up and down Delaware, residents and visitors alike can enjoy beautiful, scenic trails," said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. "This urban trail will connect parts of the Elsmere community and provide a healthy recreational outlet for all to use. I'm proud that this was a federal, state and local effort."
“The trail system in Delaware is a source of statewide pride, taking walkers, runners and cyclists through some of Delaware's most scenic areas," said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons. "It’s great that federal resources could be used to help Elsmere construct this trail that will be used to connect existing parks and trails in Delaware."
“This project is the latest example of local, state, and federal partners working together to invest in Delaware trails and pathways,” said Congressman John Carney. “Trails connect neighborhoods, help Delawareans stay healthy and active, and improve entire communities. I’m excited to see work on this trail in Elsmere get underway, and look forward to visiting when it’s all finished.”
The new trail is made possible by two grants to the town of Elsmere – a DNREC grant of $115,000 from the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund and a DelDOT Transportation and Enhancement Program Grant of $645,000 through Federal Highway Administration funds.
Secretary O’Mara presented Elsmere Mayor Burg and town officials with a ceremonial grant check from the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund.
“Integrating trails into urban communities is a critical strategy of Governor Markell’s Trails and Pathways Initiative to improve the livability of our state, increase recreational opportunities and connect Delawareans of all ages to the great outdoors,” said O’Mara. “My agency has a long relationship with Elsmere, supporting the acquisition of Fairgrounds Park in 1992 and improvements at several playgrounds. We are proud to provide this important matching fund grant to help build a new trail that will provide no-cost, safe and accessible recreational opportunities where families can exercise and have fun.”
“The multi-use trail being constructed for the benefit of the residents of the Town of Elsmere is yet another community-driven project that the Department of Transportation is happy to support through our Transportation Enhancement Program,” stated Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt.
Senator Blevins, who played a key role in getting the agency to look at the site for a trail, said it will be a great benefit to the community.
“This meets a real need to provide safe recreational opportunities for our residents,” Blevins said. “It will be an asset that people in Elsmere will be able to utilize and enjoy for years to come, and I’m proud to have played a role in bringing it here.”
The new trail is a key element of Elsmere’s re-greening program that provides more outdoor recreational facilities and opportunities for residents and visitors. Plans are to build an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant trail that people of all ages and abilities can use and enjoy. A pedestrian bridge will also be constructed to cross an existing ditch.
Future plans are to install exercise stations along the trail that will include general fitness equipment. In addition, trees will be planted along the trail and information signage will be posted at each trailhead. Long-range plans include the possibility of adding lighting along the trail for extra security.
DelDOT is responsible for construction of the trail and intends to offer bids for construction in September, with groundbreaking anticipated for spring 2015.
Established in 1986, the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund (DTF) assists municipalities and local governments with matching grants for the planning, acquisition and development of parks and trails. Fairgrounds Park, formerly owned by the CSX Railroad, was purchased by the Town in 1992 with DTF grant assistance. In addition, in 1996 and 1999 the town received DTF grants for playground improvements at multiple sites. Since its inception, the Trust Fund has provided more than $24 million in matching grant assistance to local governments throughout the state.
Vol. 44, No. 213