Editorial: Sussex should pursue partnerships to preserve open space
Sussex County Land Trust is purchasing a 31-acre tract along Route 9 to build a trailhead that will provide access to the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail.
The land trust is partnering with Delaware Open Space Council, Delaware Department of Transportation and others to provide parking, trail access, a bicycle kiosk and restrooms.
Sussex County Council last week agreed to join the private-public partnership by contributing $450,000 to support the $1.6 million project.
As Councilman I.G. Burton noted, purchasing the land will preserve open space, which Sussex County supports, plus the partnerships established by the land trust make the project what Burton called a win-win.
The planned trailhead will be at the midpoint of the Lewes-to-Georgetown trail, which when complete will allow cyclists and hikers to go from Georgetown to Cape Henlopen State Park. At 17 miles long, the trail will become the longest multiuse trail in all of Delaware.
This funding marks the county’s first contribution to the land trust in nearly 10 years. We say it’s money well spent, supporting a project that will enhance access to the trail while preserving land from intensive development. In time, recreational facilities such as pickleball courts may be added at the site, offering more opportunities for the public to get out and enjoy exercise, keeping us healthy and active.
Sussex County officials should continue to seek opportunities to leverage funding through partnerships to purchase land that preserves open space, protects our waterways and promotes public access to recreation.
Open vistas and healthy, sparkling waterways are essential to Sussex County’s appeal for those who already live here, and for future visitors and residents.
It is critical to invest now, while opportunities still exist, to protect the lifestyle we so treasure going forward.
Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, publisher Dennis Forney is a member of the board of directors of Sussex County Land Trust. Councilmen George Cole, R-Ocean View, and I.G. Burton, R-Lewes, who voted in favor of the purchase, serve as trustees, representing the county on the land trust board of directors.