Del. state parks to get facelifts through funding change
By Amy Cherry

Updated Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 3:09pm

Video player now loading; please wait...
VIDEO: WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

Delaware's state parks will see some much-needed improvements through a change in funding.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

Click here to listen

A new law changes the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund to an endowment.

"We'll bring that maybe less than one-percent return up to, maybe, two three, four, five percent return," said DNREC Secretary David Small.

Click here to listen

Small, who recently took over the state's natural resources department, says the endowment will be managed by the Cash Management Policy Board. Any money made will be used for trails, playgrounds, and various improvements to state parks. The money can also be used to help towns and municipalities purchase new land to create a park.

"There's a backlog probably of about $100 million right now, we're whittling away at it, and this will certainly help," he said.

Click here to listen

He points to the ailing indoor tennis center at Bellevue State Park.

"It is falling in on itself, and it can become a public safety concern. That's probably a $1.5 million investment just to responsibly take that down," Small said.

Click here to listen

He adds the funding could lead to improvements at Cape Henlopen State Park, where infrastructure dates back to World War II.

"Our wastewater treatment system, we've made some upgrades to it, but it's basically the same system. Our fishing pier is falling apart--it's an incredible amenity for folks who don't have a boat, but would like to go fishing," Small explains.

Click here to listen

He adds we could see improvements to Lums Pond as well, which needs at least $13 million, Governor Markell said.

"Add full-service hookups for campers -- a lot of folks take that for granted. But if you're looking for a campground that doesn't have electric, doesn't have sewer, and doesn't have water, a lot of folks are going to bypass that and find somewhere that does," said Small.

Click here to listen

Small says these investments will have high rates of return because the state parks can charge more, meaning they'll make more. But the improvements aren't all about money, they're about getting kids outdoors.

"Away from screens, outdoors, up close and personal with nature so they can learn from it but also appreciate," he said.

Click here to listen

Copyright © Sep 19, 2014, WDEL/Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

WDEL News Tools:
Printer friendly version
Back to homepage

 Latest News

 Follow Us

Facebook Twitter
RSS Mobile
Email Updates

Copyright © 2014, Delmarva Broadcasting Company. All Rights Reserved.   Terms of Use.
WDEL Statement of Equal Employment Opportunity and Outreach