Dover, Camden make key connection

CAMDEN — The city of Dover and the town of Camden have gained a much-needed connection for bicyclists, joggers and walkers to get to and from the two locales.

Officials from the Delaware Department of Transportation and local dignitaries officially opened the Brecknock Connector Trail at the northeast end of Brecknock Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The Brecknock Connector Trail not only creates a 1,300-foot-long path between existing trails in Brecknock Park and the POW/MIA Parkway, it also brought an existing pedestrian bridge on southbound U.S. 13 up to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

“We’re really excited to finally cut the ribbon on this trail,” DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan said. “It’s significant for many reasons – it’s the continuation of DelDOT’s commitment to multi-modal transportation and connecting communities.

“The great thing about this is you can actually now go from Brecknock Park (in Camden) all the way to Schutte Park (in Dover). You go alongside our brand-new POW/MIA Parkway. It’s beautiful.”

The trail also runs past the Kent County Recreation Center, which houses the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dover.

George and Lynch, a Dover-based contractor, built the Brecknock Connector Trail at a cost of $666,000. Eighty percent of the project’s costs were covered by the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

Mrs. Cohan said the new connecting trail and bridge will improve safety, especially for residents of Rodney Village who bike and walk to Brecknock Park.

“We pick up a very underserved neighborhood in Rodney Village so now those citizens and those children can actually come to and from the park and those facilities in a very low stress, safe environment,” she said.

Terry Pepper, vice president of the Kent County Levy Court, was among the dignitaries who cut the ribbon on the Brecknock Connector Trail.

“You’re standing in one of the crown jewels in Kent County right now — Brecknock Park,” Mr. Pepper said. “Every day about this time this place is crowded. We’ve seen joggers go by and walkers, people going home from school, and the park is well-used.

“This new bridge will not only connect Dover and Camden better, but it will also keep those that travel this way a lot safer. That’s the key thing here, keeping kids and people safe and help them enjoy the city of Dover and Kent County.”

DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen and Kent Levy Court Commissioner Terry Pepper join
local dignitaries and state officials to cut the ribbon at the Brecknock Connector Trail near Camden on Wednesday.

Robin Christiansen wore two hats at the project’s unveiling, as he serves as both the mayor of Dover and the chairman of the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“As chairman of the Dover/Kent County MPO it’s our job to approve and seek out new projects for multi-faceted transportation throughout Kent County,” Mayor Christiansen said. “I’m really honored to be here today because the city of Dover believes in these projects.

“You have connected two of the gems of Kent County in Brecknock Park and Schutte Park and allowed our children to commute back and forth.”

Mrs. Cohan said the multi-use trail and the improved bridge also filled an important gap in the Capital City Trail Loop, a biking and walking trail around Kent County that is being put together piece-by-piece.

“DelDOT is pleased to have completed another link in the Capital City Trail Loop, a 15-mile system of trails that enables bicyclists and pedestrians to travel freely between Dover and Camden,” she said.

“We are proud to work with our local and federal partners to make Delaware a more walkable and bikeable state.”

Delaware now has more than 500 miles of pedestrian and bike trails throughout the state.

Mayor Christiansen laughed and said he wished he was afforded the opportunities the trails now present back when he was growing up in Dover.

“When I was a child I had my 24-inch J.C. Higgins bike and I used to travel all over the county,” he said. “My parents didn’t know where I was, and I didn’t really have decent trails such as this to travel on … and I had to be home when the streetlights came on, but the bad thing about it was, where I lived we didn’t have a streetlight.

“Seriously, though, this is a great project that I’m pleased to be a part of.”

 

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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