Sports center offer is a good deal
Former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont years ago told an annual meeting of the Positive Growth Alliance never to do anything governmentally that would slow a growing economy. Growing economies provide money to work with, he said; in a stagnant or declining economy, there's no money to do good things for the people.
Sussex County is clearly in a growth economy. Real estate transfer taxes are up and for the past couple of years have contributed to budget surpluses. That means there is money to work with for the good of the people.
Sussex County Council recently heard a proposal from Sussex Sports Center Foundation that offers an excellent opportunity for the county to leverage some of its surplus into a public asset beneficial to many. Foundation spokesman Joe Schell said he will donate 56 acres of land just east of Georgetown for an outdoor recreational complex with playing fields, a certified cross country course, pickleball courts, a picnic area and a pavilion.
Schell said his primary intent is to have a publicly available place for local families to enjoy outdoor recreation in Sussex.
He asked the county to join a partnership that will bring the complex to fruition by contributing $1.5 million to the $4 million project. The remainder of the cost would be met, he said, by contributions from foundations, individuals, businesses, the State of Delaware and Georgetown. The Sussex Sports Center Foundation will also donate two parcels to realign the problematic intersection at Route 9/Sand Hill Road/Airport Road.
Public/private partnerships have long benefited Sussex County. They make public money go farther. No commitment is sought to develop an additional bureaucracy needed to operate a parks department which our fiscally conservative, and fiscally sound, county has resisted for decades.
This good deal aligns with Sussex County's desire to promote good health through outdoor recreation and offers an affordable way for the county to put its money where its mouth is.