Ribbon Cutting of the Castle Trail on C&D Canal

Former Delaware Governor and United States Congressman Michael Castle was the honored guest last week as Governor Jack A. Markell joined U.S. Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Congressman John Carney, Deputy Secretary Nicole Majeski, Department of Transportation (DelDOT), and Secretary Collin O’Mara, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) in the ribbon cutting ceremony on the new “Castle Trail” on the the C&D Canal.

The almost $6 million trail, part of the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative, currently stretches about nine miles from the southern end of the Branch Canal west to Summit Bridge. This scenic stretch along the canal bank is a multi-use pathway designed to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, anglers and equestrians, and will be managed by DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife as part of the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

“I’m very pleased that after many years of planning and construction, the Mike Castle C&D Canal Trail is finally open to the public,” said U.S. Congressman Carney.  “This is a beautiful area of our state, and the trail will allow more Delawareans to appreciate it while walking, biking, and enjoying a healthy, active lifestyle.  I’m also happy for my predecessor in Congress, Mike Castle.  It’s fitting that the trail be named for someone who spent so much time and effort working, along with his state director, Jeff Dayton, to help create it.  I want to wish him congratulations and thank him for his tremendous work.”

“Opening this new trail will help support tourism, connect communities, get people outside and help improve their quality of life through healthy activity and enjoyment of nature,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “In addition to advancing our plans for a statewide network of trails, the Michael N. Castle Trail also supports Delaware’s Bayshore Initiative in its goal to enhance low-impact outdoor recreation and ecotourism opportunities.”

Construction began in September on the next phase of the Castle Trail, the 0.9-mile Branch Canal Pedestrian and Bicyclist Path. When completed in late 2014, the approximately $1.4 million Branch Canal component will connect the main part of the Castle Trail along the north side of the C&D Canal with Delaware City’s Canalfront Promenade. In addition to DelDOT and DNREC, partners involved in this phase also include the New Castle Conservation District and the City of Delaware City.

First State Trails and Pathways Initiative is a partnership led by the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control with regional and local organization and government partners.

For more information, please visit www.trails.delaware.gov. 

River Towns Ride & Festival Success!

Cyclists pedaled from one historic Delaware town to another Saturday in the first River Towns Ride and Festival.

The event was a collaborative effort between New Castle, founded in 1651, and its younger neighbor, Delaware City, founded in 1826. It was the first such collaboration of the towns, which are approximately 10 miles apart. 

The time trials drew 126 riders, including five teams of two riders each. The “fun” rides drew 205 cyclists, said Julie Miro Wenger, event organizer.

One of them was Gov. Jack Markell, a longtime cycling enthusiast who wore blue and gold and had a motorcycle escort.

“It’s a great opportunity to connect two Delaware towns and ride with other Delawareans,” Markell said before taking off on his 29-minute ride.

Each town had food, music, games for the kids. Bill Mannia of Delaware City took his 3-year-old granddaughter, Hailey, to both towns and they decorated a pumpkin together in New Castle.

“We’re having a ball,” he said.

Harry and Joan Skilton were enjoying the New Castle festival when he suggested an expansion for next year.

New ideas are indeed in the works, said Jerry DuPhily, one of the event organizers, and may one day include Port Penn, Odessa, and trips across the Delaware River to fetch festival-goers from Salem, N.J.

All in all, a very successful and fun event for both New Castle and Delaware City.

“Castle Trail on the C&D Canal” moves to long waited construction phase!

C&D Canal Construction - Delaware CityThe City and Main Street have obtained approvals and permits to start construction on an important phase of the “Castle Trail on the C&D Canal”. The Trail has made great progress on the portions between St. Georges to Summit Marina. This next phase extends the Promenade behind Kathyʼs Crab House and continues to the C&D Canal, completing the trail portion to Battery Park. Birding Observation Platforms and birding boxes will be installed during this construction phase as well as the restoration of the African Union Cemetery. When completed the Castle Trail will extend 15 miles along the C&D Canal and connect Delaware City Battery Park to Chesapeake City, Maryland. The trail will include walking, hiking, bicycling and equestrian trails with parking and access at several points along the trail. Waterfront Delaware City is excited to add this project to its long term strategy of a Destination Hub of Eco Tourism. More to come on the Castle Trail!

Delaware City Community Garden project a complete success!

Delaware City Community Garden

Main Street and the City have completed the first phase of the new Community Garden. The new garden is located at the Community Center and has been a success thanks to the volunteers who made it happen. The elevated garden boxes were built and filled with planting soil, water and electric was installed, and the garden area fence was completed. With all spaces being utilized this first year, plans are being considered to expand in 2014. Please contact Town Hall for reservations.

Community gardening improves peopleʼs quality of life by providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development, stimulating social interaction, encouraging self-reliance, producing nutritious food and creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education.

Ground Breaking of the Castle Trail on the C&D Canal

Delaware City - Castle TrailU.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and U.S. Rep. John Carney joined federal, state and local officials to announce the naming of the Michael N. Castle Trail at the C&D Canal. Monday also marked the groundbreaking of the first phase of the approximately 16-mile long shared-use recreational trail along the north side of the C&D Canal. The trail will create safe new recreational opportunities along the canal where people can hike, bicycle, jog, skate, bird watch and ride horses.

“Today, we are celebrating the beginning of turning this waterway, which sees more than 25,000 vessels pass through a year, into a recreational attraction,” Senator Tom Carper said. “This is the kind of project that gives back to the community by creating a place to bike, walk, run, horseback ride and enjoy this beautiful and serene passage through the state. Naming this trail after Congressman Mike Castle is a great way to honor his legacy of working to improve our state’s natural resources.”

“Mike Castle long ago embraced the notion that the C&D Canal is like an emerald necklace draped across the northern portion of our beautiful state, and I am so very pleased that this jewel will be named after our dear friend,” Senator Chris Coons said. “Quite a few Delawareans, including Mike Castle, have worked hard over nearly eight years to transform this path into a greenway, and I’m pleased today we’re celebrating the groundbreaking. I look forward to the day when my family and I can join others in exploring the beauty of the C&D Canal via the Michael N. Castle Trail.”

Delaware City Council Approval expands Historic Downtown Main Street

Delaware City Real EstateDelaware City Mayor & Council has approved a Minor Subdivision Plan creating three new single family homes overlooking the Downtown Main Street District. The vote follows approvals from the Planning Commission, Historical Preservation and the Board of Adjustments.

The approved plan will further extend the Waterfront Downtown Main Street revitalization and creates three new homes with a Resort Lifestyle designed for Active Adults. Historic Architecture, multi-level porch design and elevated single floor living boast panoramic views of the Main Street District and the Delaware River. The NeoTriditionial design creates outdoor covered porch living space and potential Live-Work setting. Designed with rear ally access and oversized two car garages for the hobbiest or craftsman. Elegant smart designs include Energy Star Efficiency, Andersen Windows, Composite materials, professional landscape and low maintenance exteriors.

Created to enhance the Active Waterfront Marina Community and in keeping the Eco Friendly walkable town, these homes will soon be available for purchase.

For more information visit our Delaware City Real Estate Section

Delaware City – New American Birding Association Headquarters

Delaware City BirdingThe American Birding Association, The Cirty of Delaware City and The State of Delaware Department of Natural Resources held an event this past Thursday announcing the ABA’s new headquarters which will be located in the historic Central Hotel building here in Delaware City. This move is being considered a huge ecotourism catch by Gov. Jack Markell.

“We believe birding can play an important role in expanding our multi-billion dollar tourism industry,” Markell said during the announcement on the steps of the city’s historic Central Hotel, an 1830s structure now undergoing renovation largely for birding association use.

City Manager Dick Cathcart says the town, situated on the northern end of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, is trying to become a hub for eco-tourism in the state. It’s already home to the ferry to Fort Delaware and Pea Patch Island and is in the process of connecting to various nearby trails, including the Castle trail at the C&D canal. Cathcart says the American Birding Association first in nicely and anticipates it will provide a significant boost and the town’s economy.

“You have a demographic like the birders coming in. The disposable income for that group is pretty high, so obviously its going to help our commercial district. It’s just a win-win for us,” said Cathcart.

 The ABA expects to be fully moved in to the Central Hotel in about a year, after renovations the building that dates to the 1830s are complete. It will occupy two floors of the Central Hotel with a vistors’ center on the first floor and offices for an expected 7 employees on the second.

For more information regarding the American Birding Association, please visit them online.

Delaware-City-Tree-Program

“Trees for Delaware City” Program Wins National Award

Back in 2011, The Delaware Center for Horticulture developed a program to bring low cost trees to homeowners in Delaware City and educate people about the benefits of planting trees. “Trees for Energy Conservation: Delaware City” was the first of the new program from DCH. The campaign resulted in the sale of 86 trees, which was actually 15 percent more trees than were expected to sell. Each tree was later assessed by a professional and it was documented that all trees were planted correctly for the best possible energy conservation.

Just last week, this campaign to plant trees in Delaware City was recognized at the National Federation of Press Women’s nation banquet, winning the Public Service Program category. Congratulations to the Delaware Center for Horticulture and to Delaware City! Another step in the right direction for this amazing little town.

DMV Coming Soon to Delaware City

Bigger and better DMV coming soon to Delaware City

Work will soon get underway on the new $20 million DMV on Route 13 just south of Route 72 near Delaware City.  The 42,000 sq. ft. building has been designed to better serve the growing New Castle County population better than the existing facility it will replace.

“One of the most important things is size,” said Delaware DMV Director Jennifer Cohan.  “At the [current DMV on Airport Road] that we’re replacing, the neighborhoods have built up around it.”  That community growth has prohibited efforts to increase the capacity at that site.  “Size is definitely an issue there, whether it’s parking or internal.”

The current DMV facility, which first opened in 1965, serves between 600-1,500 on a daily basis and averages about 38,800 customers every month. The new facility will be able to serve those numbers and is designed to handle additional growth in the driving population.  While the current DMV has four inspection lanes and about 30 service windows, the new facility will have ten inspection lanes and many more front-line stations.  “We’re also going to have a wall of self-service kiosks,” said Cohan, which should speed up the amount of time drivers have to spend at the DMV.

Since taking over as DMV director in 2007, Cohan has been on an ongoing mission to make the DMV experience better for Delaware drivers.  “We have an interesting reputation nationwide,” said Cohan.  “The only way to change that is to win customers back one at a time, and that’s exactly what we vow to do.”

The new DMV has been designed to meet LEED Silver Certification for a number of environmentally friendly systems, including a high level of insulation, which should help reduce the building’s energy costs.

Construction will get underway soon.  The building should open to the public in late 2014.

Delaware City Going Green: Saving $1 Million with Solar

Delaware City is a part of New Castle County that has long been known for it’s production of fossil fuels but our new 2.5 acre field of solar panels means enormous savings for the city, with no negative impact on our environment. 

In June, state and local officials unveiled our 500kw/hr solar farm that aims to save Delaware City $1 million on utility bills over our 20 year contract with SolarCity. 1,900 solar panels were installed using the Solar Renewable Energy Credit, which meant no cost to Delaware City.  Through SolarCity, the town will buy energy for a discounted rate of $.05/kwh – Approximately half of current costs. 

Our solar farm equates to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 500 tons of carbon dioxide. This reduction is the equivalent of Delaware City taking 100 cars off of the road. 

The most amazing part is that this project produces 96% of the city’s current usage and with a little more tweaking of efficiency, it could be 100%. This is truly an amazing feat for our city.