Public park redevelopment proposed for portion of former Claymont Steel site

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The Claymont Renaissance Development Corporation is endorsing a “public park” concept for part of the former Evraz-Claymont steel mill property.

The concept, dubbed “Claymont Riverfront Public Park,” was designed by the Coastal Resilience Design Studio (CRDS), a student-led workgroup at the University of Delaware.

The plan proposes recreational opportunities for the community, such as walking and biking trails, sports fields, event and entertainment spaces, and a new marina with access to the Delaware River – something local residents lost in the  1960s.

CRDC engaged Dr. Jules Bruck and her university students in mid-2021 to evaluate and recommend ideas for how to best develop the underutilized waterfront areas at the former industrial property.

“The results have been outstanding,” said Brett Saddler, executive director at CRDC. “The ideas generated by this student-led group were completely in line with the community’s vision of a redeveloped Claymont Steel.”

Saddler said the conceptual plan was shared with the developer of the property, Commercial Development Co.,  which would donate the land and assist with infrastructure.

Commercial Development plans to redevelop the site as a mixed-use residential, retail-office, and light industrial project.

“Claymont residents have been denied access to the Delaware River since the late 1960s construction of I-495. It is exciting to see the quality of life benefits this public park would provide,” Saddler said.

The student-led designers from the CRDS believe the concept could establish a greater sense of community and healthy lifestyle options for Claymont residents and visitors alike. Delaware and out-of-state residents would enjoy multi-modal access to Claymont Riverfront Public Park via walking trails and cycling, as well as DART buses, DART Paratransit, and SEPTA Trains.

“The CRDS student team was so fortunate to have the opportunity to work on this exciting project. The group spent time on the site and in Claymont to understand both the site history and the vision for Claymont’s future. I am really proud of the work they did and the final plan that will allow people to experience this beautiful plot of land.”  said Bruck, director of CRDS at the University of Delaware.

The Maine-to-Florida East Coast Greenway will pass through Claymont, making this location an ideal “Welcome to Delaware” trailhead for this interstate network of trails. Delaware Greenways would also connect their existing trails to Claymont Riverfront Public Park, according to the release.

A central point of the riverfront park plan is the restoration and preservation of the area’s wetlands.

The release stated that the public park development plan would provide significant long-term benefits to the State and County, specifically concerning strengthening North Claymont’s attractiveness for residential and business development potential.

 

 

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