Letter to the Editor: Upgrades needed before more development

I am writing in response to the front page article titled “Master planning process” Delaware State News, Jan. 7.

It is said in the article that with all the recent interchange improvements around Little Haven and Frederica they are eyeing economic development. Eric Buckson, who is chairing the group, is a good guy who is always open to ideas and will listen to you.

The article mentions how they want to consider businesses other than just more housing developments. I couldn’t agree more! They talk about a business center in Little Haven, possibly a large medical facility as well as businesses in South Frederica to help support the booming sports complex.

All the recent interchanges the state have put in are great. Wide exit lanes, fresh pavement and more than adequate lighting and signage. I work at the Kent County Wastewater Plant next to the DE Turf complex and travel south on Route 1 to get to work every day.

I will mention some issues that need to be addressed before ground is broken for the first business. The back roads and infrastructure need to be upgraded to accommodate the business boom. Many of these roads in the state are the same ones from 30 years ago! Tar and chip and narrow.

I see it time and time again, developments and businesses go in and back and secondary roads leading to them stay outdated. I especially notice this around Smyrna, Dover and Middletown. Although Middletown is doing the best job with road upgrades.

The other issue is traffic lights. Before a light goes up on the highway or anywhere the roads leading to it should have turn lanes for all directions. Example: Traveling east on Brenford Road, south of Smyrna, you come out to a light on Route 13. If I want to go south and head toward Dover, good luck! There is no turn lane for people who want to head south. Many of the people who live in developments on that road want to head north to the Route 1 entrance just a mile up Route 13. The line is easily 20 to 30 cars long on a typical morning. This is just a small example of how back roads can’t support developments, businesses and our growing population.

Many of the people who go to Route 1 from Brenford Road travel north because most of them work in New Castle County or out of state.

Back to the original intent of my article. Why don’t we create good-paying jobs in Kent and Sussex counties and keep some of these people flocking to live in our state working here. I think this is what Mr. Buckson is trying to work on.

Let’s talk about the types of businesses. I do not mean more restaurants and department stores. In Kent County anyway if you want a pair of shoes or grab a bite to eat, you’re set.

We need more manufacturing jobs in this state. PPG is set to close in Cheswold and there is a useless shopping center being built where the former Playtex plant was in Dover. Not to mention the Chrysler and General Motors plants closing many years ago in northern Delaware. These were all great jobs! If we had these types of businesses then maybe you can afford to buy nice shoes and clothes or possibly take your family out to a nice steak dinner. Instead many of these eating places and stores go out of business because no one can afford to go to them.

Minimum wage is going up because what used to be entry-level jobs are now what most people are doing for careers now and trying to support there families on. Our controlling party in Delaware needs to realize this! I think they do but just don’t care. I know I have hit on several issues but I believe they are all connected and I feel Mr. Buckson, our state legislators and our governor need to know about it. There are many great honest and hard-working people in Delaware who deserve better.

John Messina Jr.

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