Clock and gazebo to be ready for parade and tree lighting Sunday, Dec. 1

There’s a gift for the Clayton community next the tree on the corner of Main and Bassett streets just in time for the Christmas parade and Memorial Tree lighting.

The finishing touches are being made on a small park featuring a 16-foot clock, metal benches, flower beds and a gazebo 12 feet in diameter which will be open during the parade and tree lighting Sunday, Dec. 1. The Memorial Tree is part of the park property along with the Clayton historical marker.

The project started three years ago with an idea from Eric Young, a member of the town’s Economic Development Committee.

“I was trying to think of something that would make the downtown a little nicer – more of a destination, something that would help attract people to visit the shops,” said Young. “It’s postcard-esque now with the park and the train station.”

The four-faced clock with an old-fashioned look is the focal point of the park.

“I thought it would be a classy showpiece,” Young said.

With the recommendation of the Economic Development Committee, Clayton Town Council pursued funding for the park which cost about $62,000, according to Councilman Skip Carrow.

“Eric brought us the idea for the clock and it just kept expanding from there,” said Carrow.

Rep. Bill Carson and Sen. Bruce Ennis arranged for a state grant for much of the money, while Kent County Levy Court donated $10,000 after seeing the story about the project in the Delaware State News. Private donations provided most of the rest of the funds.

Ed Ide, a member of the Economic Development Committee, and his company i3a Consulting and Engineering handled the design and engineering.

“I think it ties in nicely with the Memorial Tree and the town’s historic marker,” Ide said.

The cobblestones used along the walkway are from the town’s original streets.

“During a construction project, the town saved those and now we’ve repurposed them,” Ide said.

Carrow said Ide and his company did much more than expected.

“They helped us with some of the costs that weren’t covered in our plan – the contingencies – like sod,” said Carrow.

The Clayton Historical Society provided holiday decorations.

The base of the clock has metal plates with the names of the major donors plus a memorial to veterans.

“In the spring we’ll have a more formal dedication for the park, but we’re really pleased that it’s going to be ready for the parade and tree lighting,” said Carrow. “This is going to be a nice place for people to stop and sit and talk –a place to go downtown.”