Delaware is currently the only state without a national park or monument. U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and city officials have been working for years to try and remedy this situation. In late December, they set their sights on The Green in Dover.
On Tuesday night it was the county's turn to weigh in. Levy Court Commissioner Allan Angel took a moment to remind those assembled why it is important to preserve The Green.
"The Green is a historical area," he said. "The Golden Fleece is now gone. That is where our Declaration of Independence was signed, giving us the First State status."
In order for the proposition to potentially be signed by President Obama, Kent County Levy Court had to approve the preservation easement.
"The preservation easement is to preserve the look and feel of the lawn area of the Dover Green in perpetuity," said Dover City Manager Scott Koenig. "The reason I'm here tonight is because of [Commissioner Terry] Pepper's research into who actually owns The Green. We believe we have tracked the ownership of the property to the point where it was granted to the inhabitants of Kent County."
To cover all bases, the city of Dover, which has maintained the property in the past, came before Levy Court to have the county sign off on the matter, for the sake of preventing any future confusion.
Typically a proposed national park or monument wouldn't have to go through local governments, Koenig said. The traditional way is to have a proposed national park approved through legislation in Congress.
Late last year, because of the increased volume of proposed legislation being put forward at the federal level, there was an opportunity for Carper and possibly Vice President Joe Biden to take a different route, Koenig said.
That different route involves the use of the American Antiquities Act and a presidential declaration to have something deemed a national monument. Before the legislation could move to President Obama's desk, however, all of the proper documents, such as easements, deeds and environmental studies, had to be gathered. The proposal then would have to be approved at the city and county level. Dover City Council took action in January, and the ball was put in the hands of Kent County Levy Court.
If this piece of legislation is approved, The Green will be one of four properties in Delaware named a national monument. The other three would be Woodlawn in Wilmington, the New Castle County Courthouse and the Sherriff's House in Old New Castle. Together they will be known as the First State National Monument.
"This really offers a federal level marketing plan to the Dover Green as part of the national park service," Koenig said.
Page 2 of 2 - Angel made it clear that in his eyes this is important not only for Delaware but also for the nation.
"This is one way of preserving history and giving the state of Delaware, Kent County and the city of Dover its rightful share to the historical beginnings of this great nation," Angel said.
Levy Court commissioners, sans Eric Buckson who was absent, voted unanimously to approve the easement. Now it will move on to the president. Koenig made it clear that this is no guarantee that The Green will be made a national monument.
"Doing all of this doesn't guarantee that the president is actually going to sign the package, but we have to do all of this work just to get it into his field of vision," Koenig said.