Options presented on public park pitch near Millsboro’s western limits

MILLSBORO — Millsboro town leaders are weighing options that could transform town-owned property near its western limits into a public park area featuring several amenities.

Following a Nov. 5 presentation by Matthew Spong of Landscape Architectural Services LLC, town council delayed acting on two option packages. Both would incorporate a combination of small and large dog parks, an amphitheater/plaza-type feature, walking trails, a splashpad/water feature and Blue Star Garden areas.

These were the most Top 5 suggested uses submitted in an online survey conducted this past spring that drew several hundred responses from residents.

Plans also include pavilion/picnic groves and active recreation areas.

Council members want more time to review the options.

Town council at its Sept. 4 meeting approved contracting the Dover-based landscaping architectural firm to develop conceptual plans for the approximate 11 acres of town-owned land located along the south side of SR 24 near the intersection with Godwin School Road.

Once the town decides on an option, it’s “back to drawing board” to “come up with kind of a master plan that hopefully incorporates these concepts,” Mr. Spong said.

Option A, as presented, would include highway landscape buffers, a six-acre amphitheater/plaza for festivals, concerts or a splashpad, a 6/10-mile walking path wide enough to accommodate emergency vehicles, pavilion/picnic grove and an active recreation area for impromptu activities such as frisbee or volleyball. Parking could accommodate 54 cars. This option would feature a centered entrance.

Option B would feature a centered entrance but with a roundabout component, two parking areas for 73 cars, large and small dog parks, a 7/10-mile multi-modal path, an amphitheater or bandstand, a picnic grove and a recreation area as in Option A.

Plans might include a 20-foot diameter fountain pool, possibly similar to the one on The Circle in downtown Georgetown, Mr. Spong said.

Millsboro’s history could be accentuated by incorporating some type of water mill wheel, possibly operational, as well as an interpretive panel. “There were 14 mills within this area in late 1700s and early 1800s. That’s an important thing,” Mr. Spong said.

“This could be phased over time. It’s a master plan depending on how the finances and feedback we get from town council,” said Mr. Spong.

Funding for this initial planning is in the current fiscal year budget, with a cap not to exceed $15,500, plus reimbursable expenses, according to Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson.

Matching grant funding may be available to cover a share of the project. Landscape Architectural Services has pledged to work with the town in applying for a DNREC Outdoor Recreations Parks and Trails grant and funding through DNREC’s Community Environmental Project Fund.

The Outdoor Recreation Parks and Trails funding is a 50-percent match up to $100,000.

The CEP funding has a $20,000 maximum grant award of with a $5,000 match. This funding is generated in part by fines collected for water pollution violations in watersheds. Millsboro is in the Indian River Watershed.

The park, located near the growing Plantation Lakes community, could double as a roadside welcome to visitors traveling SR 24 and possibly include a gateway component, which has been mentioned.

 

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