Levy Court approves plans for ‘Park and Ride,’ medical sports facility at DE Turf

DOVER — Bill Strickland, board chairman for the DE Turf sports complex, believes the sprawling facility located southeast of Frederica will be able to stave off possible competition from both the north and south if it continues to improve the amenities it offers and keeps growing.

Mr. Strickland got his wish as the DE Turf sports complex will have a couple of new features added in the future after the Kent County Levy Court approved an application by the Delaware Transit Corporation to add a Park and Ride service to the facility — along with a medical sports building — following a public hearing during its business meeting on Tuesday night.

“Not only do I support it, but I feel compelled whenever I see folks to publicly acknowledge your effort,” Levy Court Commissioner Eric Buckson said, to Mr. Strickland and others involved with DE Turf.

“It’s the continuation of things like this and the vision that you had that are going to help this thing be a long-term success.”

The Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) will build an estimated 265-vehicle Park and Ride service on 5.069 acres on the east side of Del. 1.

It will be built in conjunction with a medical service facility that will be built and run on the same plot of land by First State Orthopaedics and leased by DE Turf.

Mr. Strickland and staff at the DE Turf were no doubt excited after its plans moved forward.

“As the board chair of the Kent County Regional Sports Complex, I respectfully request that you support this petition,” Mr. Strickland said to members of Levy Court. “This is truly a win-win in that we have the Delaware Transit Corporation, who wants to build a Park and Ride. We, being the DE Turf, need parking and that’s a good problem to have.

“The joint-use agreement with Delaware Transit Corporation gives the Park and Ride to the community and will also provide additional parking for DE Turf.”

Mr. Strickland added that the addition of a medical facility adjacent to the sports complex is a great addition to the competitors who play there.

“The medical office complex referenced is First State Orthopaedics, which is a significant contributor and partner to the Kent County Regional Sports Complex,” said Mr. Strickland. “It’s significance really lies in two areas.

“Number one, it provides immediate medical attention to athletes that might sustain an injury while at the complex and that’s very big for us. Secondarily, they are a significant financial contributor through their sponsorships of fields. Four sponsorships (at DE Turf) are directly attributable to the influence of First State Orthopaedics.”

Catherine Murphy, who lives near the DE Turf complex, said she was concerned about children crossing a service road to get to and from the medical facility to the athletic fields, and vice versa.

“My husband and I have property nearby and were denied a chance to open a business of our own due to safety concerns in the area,” she said. “Well, that seems to be a pretty big safety concern to me.”

Gregg Moore, vice president of Becker Morgan Group, said the service-road crossing will be built to Delaware Department of Transportation standards and should not be an issue.

He did say DE Turf would like to install a mulched pathway rather than concrete from the athletic fields to the medical facility and was hoping for a delay in installation while funding of around $110,000 is raised.

“DTC is leading the project for the parking lot,” Mr. Moore said. “They are building all of the parking, the entrances and all of those facilities. The medical users of the building are actually building, funding and operating the building. It’s a cooperative effort and it’s related to DE Turf.”

Mr. Moore added that the Park and Ride location is a very strategic one for Kent County, where DTC will be running buses from Rehoboth Beach to Wilmington.

He said there will also be charging units at the facility for electric vehicles.

Mr. Strickland was happy to leave the Levy Court meeting with a clearer vision of DE Turf’s future.

“With looming competition coming from the south, and potentially from the north, we are very much looking for ways to enhance our financial position,” he said.

 

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

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