Sussex supports land trust land purchase for trailhead

Route 9 tract to offer access, parking for Lewes-to-Georgetown pathway
November 16, 2018

Sussex County Council will contribute $450,000 from its reserve account to support Sussex County Land Trust's purchase of nearly 31 acres of land to build a trailhead along the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail. Total cost of the parcel southwest of the Route 9-Coolspring Road intersection, about at the midpoint of the trail, is just over $787,000.

The remaining of funds for the purchase will come from grants, including one of $250,000 from Delaware Open Space Council.

Chairman Casey Kenton said for several years the land trust has been looking for land to establish a trailhead. The property has 1,500-foot frontage along the trail, the former Delaware Coast Line Railroad

Kenton said the property was in danger of being developed as growth spreads west along Route 9.

Executive director Mark Chura said the land trust has committed an additional $250,000 to development of the property to include a parking lot, bicycle kiosk, access road and restroom. He said state transportation officials have committed work estimated at $600,000 to connect the parcel and parking lot to the trail.

He said as other partnerships are established, expanded recreational features could be added to the trailhead, which will be managed by the land trust.

In all, Chura said, acquisition and development of the land totals $1.6 million. When settlement on the property is concluded by the end of the year, Chura said the land trust will start Phase 1, including design and engineering of the trailhead.

Phase 2 of the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail – known as The Draper Trail – from Savannah Road to Sweetbriar Road is underway.

Council approved the expenditure 5-0 during its Nov. 13 meeting. “We need to preserve open space when it makes sense,” said Councilman I.G. Burton, R-Lewes. “The partnerships the land trust has garnered makes this a win-win.”

Burton and Councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, serve as trustees representing the county on the land trust board of directors.

The action marks the first funding allocation by the county in nearly 10 years to the land trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting natural, cultural, agricultural and recreational resources through land preservation, stewardship and education.

Nearly 6,000 acres have been preserved since the land trust was formed in December 2001.

Including this most recent effort, the county and land trust have joined forces to use a mix of public and private dollars to purchase and preserve open space. The county has committed an estimated $6.1 million, saving 951 acres in the effort.




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