The 1960s-era monoliths known as the University of Delaware Rodney dorms will start to be demolished starting the week of September 16, 2019.
The dorms were closed following the 2015 school year and Newark Public Works Director Tim Filasky said as soon as the university announced those plans the City eyed up the location for a stormwater management project.
"Tom Coleman and I went over to the city manager and said this is a real good opportunity to solve some flooding issues in the area."
Filasky said when neighborhoods like the Oaklands were developed, stormwater management wasn't as advanced as it is now.
"If the Oaklands were built today there would be a stormwater pond somewhere on the downstream end near where Rodney currently sits."
As plans started to come together for the stormwater management project, Newark Parks and Recreation Director Joe Spadafino said it became clear there would be room for a new park.
"We have 36 parks throughout the city that have playgrounds and swing sets and so forth so we wanted to make something a little bit unique that would be a little bit of a destination for city residents."
The new park will include a high standing crows nest, slides and climbing nets and Spadafino said it will be very different from a nearby park which already has courts and sports fields.
"So we didn't need to have those components at this location."
Filasky said soft demo has been ongoing at the site including removal of asbestos.
"So over the next two months the dorms will come down and all the debris will be removed and then we will have to dig a pond. So basically then we remove soil, we place soil where we're going to keep it on site to build berms and play features."
For the thousands of students who came through the Rodney dorms, Filasky said they are taking requests for a piece of that history.
"We have had requests for bricks and letters and pavers and random things there. If you email us here at the city or give us a call we will put you on a list and we will have a certain number of bricks available."
He added that air monitors have been and will continue to be set-up around the site to monitor air quality.
"Probably in the spring we'll begin the actual park construction as well as the final touches on the stormwater management pond."
Filasky said a debt of gratitude is owed to the residents of the city of Newark who overwhelmingly approved a referendum that helped pay for this project and to the University of Delaware which worked closely with the city on the effort.