Oyster House Park

Spotlight on Seaford Delaware’s Oyster House Park

Background

The Nanticoke River watershed is at the center of the Chesapeake Conservancy’s conservation efforts. As one of the most unspoiled, beautiful, and biodiverse tributaries to the Chesapeake conserving the river corridor has become a core focus for the Chesapeake Conservancy. The Nanticoke is host to an impressive biodiversity of wildlife, waterfowl, native and rare plants and fish that make it the envy of the Chesapeake watershed.

The City of Seaford sits at the head of the Nanticoke, and its culture and history are tightly intertwined with the health of the river. First home to the Nanticoke Indian Tribe, it eventually became a significant shipbuilding center and a cornerstone of a major north-south supply line for shucked oysters. In fact, there was a time when it was possible to travel from one side of the river to the other by walking across the oyster barges.

Much has changed since the days when five oyster house packing plants sat along the river’s edge. Formerly known as the Nylon Capital of the World, Seaford was decimated when the Dupont Company closed its plant resulting in a loss of jobs and local pride.

The Power of a Park to Revitalize a Community: The Oyster House Park Project

This project in Seaford, DE is focused on solidifying the town as a vibrant gateway to the Chesapeake Bay that helps drive community revitalization. In partnership with the City of Seaford, we will be celebrating the completion of Phase 1 of the Oyster House Park in July 2021.

The Oyster House Park master plan calls for four phases. The first phase includes $1.1 million in upgrades to stabilize the eroding shoreline, expands the Riverwalk alongside the Nanticoke River and adds new fishing nooks for the community. The first phase also adds new kayak and boat docks to enhance water access to downstream destinations and create a new performance deck to bring educational and cultural community programming alive on the waterfront.

Additional phases of the multi-phase project Oyster House Park project will include an outdoor green amphitheater and classroom, native plant landscaping for pollinators, and an “oyster house” community facility to accommodate indoor educational and cultural programming at the water’s edge. This project will also be timed with extensive sewer upgrades which will help the surrounding community better service and attract local businesses and ensure this park boosts investments for Seaford’s long-term economic development and planning. Full completion of the project is slated for 2025 pending funding.

The Perfect Place to Fall in Love with the Outdoors:

Just downstream of the Oyster House Park, Chesapeake Conservancy has joined with our partners to conserve priority lands to protect and link 19,300 acres of habitat supporting biodiversity, working lands, public access and military readiness along the Nanticoke protected with an array of partners including Mt. Cuba Center. We’re making progress on creating a paddle-in camping trail linking Seaford, DE to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge to give Delaware residents and visitors a quintessential experience of the Nanticoke River. Read about the recent event celebrating the new Nanticoke Crossing Park near the Woodland Ferry.

A Partnership Opportunity

We see the Oyster House project as a great way to create pride help build a bright future for Seaford and Western Sussex County. Working together, we can revitalize Seaford, make it a true Gateway to the Chesapeake and create a legacy that will live on for future generations. If you are interested in partnering on future phases of the project, please contact Melissa Ehrenreich at [email protected]