The Town of Smyrna now has a site north of Duck Creek for a future water tower thanks to a piece of legislation that was signed by Gov. Jack Markell on July 31.
Senate Bill 86 transfers 1.57 acres of land along the southbound side of Route 13 in New Castle County to the Town of Smyrna for future public use.
The surplus property is located at 5501 DuPont Parkway, near Parkview RV, and was originally purchased by the state in 1941 for $350, according to a press release from the Town of Smyrna. Town Manager Dave Hugg said the property is valued at roughly $220,000.
Hugg said talks regarding the property started within the last year.
"We started looking around for a location for a new water tower," Hugg said.
The town wanted a location north of Duck Creek. The town contacted the State Planning Office to inquire of potential use for the property and then reached out to local legislators.
The state-owned property was under the Department of Agriculture and was used as a fire tower site. Eventually the land was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Safety.
Sen. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna) sponsored the bill along with Rep. Bill Carson (D-Smyrna) and said the state virtually had no use for the land so the legislation was drafted and passed by the General Assembly this year.
The Senate passed the bill on June 12 by a vote of 20-0 with one senator absent. The House passed the bill on July 1 by a vote of 41-0. The land was transferred for the consideration of $1.
"We'll use [the land] for a water tower, possibly a water well and treatment facility," Hugg said. "It's a piece of public property that could be used for multiple purposes. The land is valued at $220,000 and we're getting it basically for a dollar."
Further down the road, he said the land could even be used as a fire substation, police substation or ambulance substation. Senate Bill 86 states if the land is not used for public use, it will revert back to the state.
"It's important because it gives a critical piece of infrastructure," Hugg said. "Getting it saves us the $220,000 it would've cost us to secure the site."
Mayor Joanne Masten said she's been waiting with bated breath for Gov. Markell to sign the legislation and is excited he finally did as there's a number of things the town could do with the property.
"It gives us the flexibility to put in a water tower, or a substation for the fire department or even Ambulance 64," Masten said. "And it didn't cost a thing to the town."
Senate Bill 86 was also cosponsored by State Senators Brian Bushweller, Bethany Hall-Long, and Margaret Rose Henry as well as State Representatives John Mitchell, Trey Paradee, Jeff Spiegelman, and David Wilson.
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