The Sussex County Land Trust its actively pursuing a project to construct a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over Route 9 to connect legs of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail.
During a report to Sussex County Council at its Dec. 15 meeting, Executive Director Mark Chura said the bridge would be similar to one over Route 24 at Baywood Greens Golf Course in Long Neck. He said as popularity of the trail increases rapidly, a safer crossing of the busy road is needed. The trail currently ends at the Cool Spring Road-Route 9 intersection, but will eventually continue from there to Georgetown.
“I can't tell you this will actually happen,” Chura said. “But, this trail's volume of ridership is tremendous; it's an amazing resource.”
Chura said the land trust, with financial help from the county, purchased a tract fronting Route 9 along the vacated railroad bed, which has been named Stephen P. Hudson Park. He said plans for the area include a trail parking lot, bathrooms and other amenities.
In addition, he said, the land trust is looking for additional land purchases to possibly extend the trail in other directions to connect more communities to it.
The land trust is also purchasing a 41-acre tract along the Nanticoke River near Woodland, west of Seaford. Land trust member Ron Vickers said plans for the parcel include a small boat launch and hiking trails with views of the river. He said six different partners, including Sussex County, were involved in the purchase.
Casey Kenton, land trust president, said since the trust was formed in 2001, Sussex County officials have contributed $6.7 million, while land trust volunteers have raised $4 million in private donations to preserve more than 6,000 acres of land in the county.
Kenton said the organization has a new board and is reenergized to look at more opportunities to preserve land throughout the county. “The time to act is now, because the market is strong,” he told council.
He said the land trust continues to partner with developers to raise funds for preservation. The trust has agreements with the developers of Peninsula, Old Mill Landing, Covered Bridge Trails and The Lodge at Truitt Homestead to make a donation for every lot they sell.
For more information about the land trust, go to sclandtrust.org.