Sussex Land Trust opens Phase 1 of Hudson Park

Ribbon cutting takes place at trailhead with access to Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail
September 28, 2023

On Sept. 26, the Sussex County Land Trust, Sussex County Council and administrative staff partnered to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of a new trailhead at Stephen P. Hudson Park that connects with the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail.

Phase 1 of the trailhead project comprises a small rest area and parking lot for public use to access the trail on a parcel near the intersection of Route 9 and Cool Spring Road. Once complete, the trail will be a 17-mile bike/pedestrian trail extending between the two towns following a former railway bed, spearheaded by the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Land trust board members, council members, and local and state officials were in attendance.

According to land trust Executive Director Mark Chura, Phase 2 will comprise restrooms, additional parking and a playground. Sussex council approved a resolution at its Sept. 26 meeting to allow the land trust to apply for $143,500 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control outdoor recreation, parks and trails grant to complete Phase 2 work.

To qualify for the grant, the state or county must sponsor the grant application as a resolution.

The land trust is manager of the property.

Hudson Park, a 30-acre property, was purchased with several funding sources provided by the Delaware Open Space Council, Sussex County Council and the Delaware Division of Parks and acquired by the land trust in 2019. Sussex County Council contributed $450,000 toward the purchase of the park.

The county’s contribution is among a series of investments in recent years, often through partnerships with groups such as the land trust, to acquire or preserve property of varying sizes for open space and recreational amenities.

“I think this is going to be an amazing addition to Sussex County, not just the trailhead and the Georgetown-to-Lewes Trail itself, but also the playground that a local Rotary group is planning to build there. It will make it a true park with recreational amenities for people young and older,” said Council Vice President John Rieley, who sits on the land trust board of directors.

Since 2001, the land trust has purchased, protected and managed open space parcels throughout Sussex County. The land trust is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting natural, cultural, agricultural and recreational resources through land preservation, stewardship and education.

“We wish to thank the many partners that helped us fund the purchase of the park as well as the development of it,” said land trust Chair Heidi Gilmore. “We hope that the residents of the county who can now use this park appreciate all of our efforts. This is the first of several we plan to launch. If anyone can help us with donations to help bring more of these projects into reality, we ask that you reach out to us or check out our website for more information. This is an example of what we can do when we all work together.”

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