Dover receives funding for Mallard Pond Park improvements

Mallard Pond Park is about to get a makeover. Dover will receive $31,350 for playground equipment and $50,000 to build a concrete path for walkers, runners and cyclists. (Delaware State News file)

Mallard Pond Park is about to get a makeover. Dover will receive $31,350 for playground equipment and $50,000 to build a concrete path for walkers, runners and cyclists. (Delaware State News file)

DOVER — Dover’s Mallard Pond Park sits between a collection of apartments, condominiums and homes, including Brandywine Court, Fox Hall West and Heatherfield East.
Aside from a few rusting barbecue grills, the park is generally unknown to many.

“The park is beautiful, but it currently has no amenities for public enjoyment,” said Ann Marie Townshend, the city’s director of planning and community development.

That image will change soon, as the city was awarded money from DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails program, which made $1.29 million available to 14 park and trail projects statewide.

The city will receive $31,350 for playground equipment and $50,000 to build a concrete path for walkers, runners and cyclists.

Ms. Townshend said playground equipment has been ordered, and installation should be complete around the beginning of May, with the path finished during the summer.

“It will have slides, swings and spring rockers,” Ms. Townshend said. “A few benches will be installed as well.”

The Outdoor Recreation, Parks and  Trails as created by the Delaware General Assembly, is a grant program assisting local governments in public park land acquisition and outdoor recreation facility development.

Eligible recipients are municipalities, counties, park districts and state agencies.

The first grants were awarded in 1988 and it has provided more than $27 million toward recreation projects.

“Parks and trails are an essential component of the fabric of our communities, contributing to our quality of life and our appreciation of the natural world,” said Gov. Jack Markell in a press release.

“Building new parks and trails or adding to those we have is a good investment both now and in the future,” he added.

“It means recreational opportunities and health benefits and enhances the appeal of our communities as good places to live and raise our families, while making our state an even more attractive destination for visitors.”

Ms. Townshend said plans to upgrade the park have been in the works for a few years. That was one of the main reasons the city submitted a grant application to the state to be eligible for funds to improve the park.

“The proximity to Dover High School and the benefit that the path connection would provide caused us to select Mallard Pond Park,” Ms. Townshend said.

She said about $65,000 for the playground and $100,000 for the path already were available for future upgrades.

“We had money set aside for the park,” Ms. Townshend said. “We had a few ideas in the works when we held an informational session for residents in 2014.

“They made suggestions to what they wanted to see and where they wanted it.”

She said the pathway and playground equipment principally would serve those living in the area, but the plan provides for a small parking area at the end of Marsh Creek Lane. However, there isn’t enough money to build it yet.

Ms. Townshend based the park’s final design plans on resident’s recommendations regarding the park.

“We used feedback from the pubic to determine the placement of the playground equipment and the location of the path,” Ms. Townshend said.

“The residents of Brandywine Court Condominium asked that we move any improvements away from their property, and our final plan addresses this.”

She hopes residents will be excited about the final product moving forward.

“The playground and path will provide different opportunities for families, who want to enjoy the outdoors,” Ms. Townshend said.

“They can ride their bikes, or play on the playground set. It’s something for everyone.”

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