U.S. Senator Coons & Seaford Mayor Genshaw Announce Plans for New Park Project in Seaford
Partners Include National Park Service & Chesapeake Conservancy
Seaford, DE – At an event today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons joined Seaford Mayor David Genshaw for an announcement about the future of the old J.B. RobinsonOyster House site along the Seaford River Walk.
With support from Mt. Cuba Center, Chesapeake Conservancy, a nonprofit based in Annapolis, Md., was able to purchase the nearly 1-acre parcel of waterfront land and donate it to the City of Seaford to become a small waterfront park with a kayak launch and other amenities. The City and Chesapeake Conservancy hopes to be able to partner with National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office to facilitate public access to the river. The Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy will hold an easement on the property, which specifies that it will be used exclusively for recreational access.
The park complements other conservation projects along the Nanticoke. Through partnerships with the United States Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI), The Conservation Fund, Mt. Cuba Center and others, Chesapeake Conservancy has completed 14 projects across the corridor linking Vienna to Seaford and just over 1800 acres. Significantly, these 14 projects link to other previously conserved properties and refuges which creates meaningful swaths of conserved land with a powerful impact on the environment.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to celebrate our past – our connection to the Nanticoke River and what it has meant to the people of Seaford,” said Seaford Mayor David Genshaw. “This project shows you what can happen when people with passion come together around common goal and Seaford is very happy to be party of it. From Seaford’s early days, it was industry along the river that brought economic successes to our community and the Nanticoke River will continue to be an economic driver for our future success as well!”
“This is an important day for the City of Seaford,” said Sen. Coons. “Seaford sits on one of the most beautiful and undeveloped rivers in the Chesapeake Bay, and I want to congratulate Mayor Genshaw, Mt. Cuba Center, the Chesapeake Conservancy, the National Park Service, and everyone who worked hard to secure the land with access for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and the future J.B. Robinson Oyster House site along the Seaford River Walk. This project will allow more Seaford residents, in addition to other Delawareans and visitors to access the Nanticoke and see what a treasure Seaford has.”
“Enhancing public access is a big priority because the more the public enjoys and experiences a resource whether it be a park, a river or even an historic site, the more they will care about it,” said Chuck Hunt, Superintendent, National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office.
“It is a great honor to partner with the City of Seaford and the National Park Service on the future of this site,” said Joel Dunn, president and CEO, Chesapeake Conservancy. “We envision a ‘trail head’ for a national park-like experience to connect us and our children with the beauty of the Nanticoke and the important role it plays in the Chesapeake watershed. What a great place to get out and enjoy an authentic Chesapeake experience on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.”
Chesapeake Conservancy Board Member Randall Larrimore who grew up in the City of Seaford, said “Sixty years ago the Nanticoke River was so polluted that it was unsafe. My father was mayor of Seaford then and was responsible for building a sewage disposal plant that has now cleaned up the River. It is very rewarding for me to follow in my father’s footsteps and help make the beautiful Nanticoke River more accessible so thousands of people can enjoy the wonders of our natural environment.”
Chesapeake Conservancy will be honoring both the REPI Program and The Conservation Fund as Champions of the Chesapeake at an awards ceremony in November.
Earlier in the morning, U.S. Senator Coons held another event with Mayor Genshaw and representatives from a variety of public, private and community organizations to celebrate the partnerships that are fostering job growth, economic vitality and long-term stability for the residents of Seaford and other Delaware neighborhoods through the Downtown Development District Act. During the celebration, FHLBank Pittsburgh and its member financial institution, Fulton Bank, presented a $130,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.