Open spaces, multi-use fields at the center of park plans

Amanda Parrish * Delaware
aparrish@doverpost.com
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times

Open spaces, multi-use fields and wooded areas are amenities the Middletown community seems to favor for a new park.

At a public feedback meeting March 4, Simone Collins Landscape Architecture presented three concept plans for the Southern New Castle County Park coming to Middletown.

The New Castle County Parks and Recreation Department held a public brainstorming session Dec. 3 where they got ideas about what the community wants – and doesn’t –in the 80-acre park on Shallcross Lake Road off Marl Pit Road.

“The consultants took the feedback from the community and the county to come up with three concepts to give an idea of what can go into the parks and how it might look or feel,” Kendall Sommers, New Castle County parks division manager, said.

She said meeting attendees chose from which three they liked the best. Overwhelmingly, people liked Concept B. This plan included four multi-use fields; two pickleball, tennis and basketball courts; one traditional and one sensory playground; a pond that weaves through the center of the park; and large woodland areas and open spaces.

Concept A and C featured off-leash dog areas, which Sommers said was not favored by community members.

“People weren’t necessarily against a dog park, but they didn’t like the idea of an off-leash area,” she said.

Although Concept B was a favorite, Sommers emphasized this would not be the final plan.

“I do want to push home that none of those three concepts is what is going to get built,” she said. “It’s still a fluid process. We are still taking input and adjusting things. This is to get a first reaction from folks.”

People were asked to give input on a list of 30 amenities that people discussed from the December meeting. Sommers said the two highest rated amenities were trails and pathways and trees and vegetation.

Bike trails, playground equipment, recreational sports fields and courts, proper lighting, and multiple parking areas and entry points were among topics mentioned several times at the previous meeting.

The cost will be determined once a plan is finished. The county is hoping to have a final plan done in the fall. Site work will likely not begin until 2022.

The next public meeting is June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Appoquinimink Community Library.