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Approved: C&D Canal Recreation Trail - Delaware City
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In the works for nearly seven years, a proposed recreation trail along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D Canal) now has the funding needed to go forward. Governor Jack Markell (D) and Delaware’s Congressional delegation announced Thursday that the state has the $4.2 million need to begin work on phase one of the approximately 14 mile mixed use trail along the north side of the canal. They were joined by former Congressman Mike Castle, who championed the project during his tenure in the House of Representatives.

In the works for nearly seven years, a proposed recreation trail along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D Canal) now has the funding needed to go forward. Governor Jack Markell (D) and Delaware’s Congressional delegation announced Thursday that the state has the $4.2 million need to begin work on phase one of the approximately 14 mile mixed use trail along the north side of the canal. They were joined by former Congressman Mike Castle, who championed the project during his tenure in the House of Representatives.“I’m comfortable now that we’re truly on a path forward,” said Castle. “I consider this a big step.”

The first portion of the trail will run from Delaware City to just beyond Summit Marina, south of Lums Pond State Park. Officials says the trail will create new, safe opportunities in the area around the canal to those who wish to hike, bicycle, jog, skate, bird-watch and ride horses. It will include amenities such as parking and rest facilities and connect to facilities at Lums Pond State Park.
“It’s going to be a place that people can really enjoy – whether they are pedestrians, on their bikes or equestrians. It’s going to be great for the quality of life [in Delaware],” said Gov. Markell.

“The biggest hold-up was funding,” said Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Collin O’Mara when asked why the project has taken so long to get off the ground. “A project of this scale, this many miles, really traversing almost the entire [width of the] state is going to take sufficient resources. We now have the critical mass we need to do the first phase of the project.”

$2.2 million dollars in Public Lands Highways Discretionary awards from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) were already in place before this year. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Resources (DNREC) added $1 million dollars from the state’s 2011 Bond Bill. That million dollars combined with an additional $1 million from the FHWA approved last month allowed officials to green light the project.
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will oversee work on the 9 mile first phase of trail. That work is expected to begin next spring. Additional phases will be announced at a later date.

“This is going to be an amazing resource for Delaware and for the whole region – for recreation, for folks who just want to get outside and enjoy the canal, for tourism and for the future economic development of Delaware City,” said Senator Chris Coons (D–Delaware).