Ideas sought for Rodney
Workshop planned to discuss stormwater project
City of Newark officials want to hear residents’ ideas for the proposed stormwater pond and park at the site of the former Rodney dorm complex on Hillside Road.
Officials have scheduled a workshop for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at city hall, 220 S. Main St.
City spokeswoman Kelly Bachman said staff members from the city as well as JMT, the engineering consultant hired to shepherd the project, will give a brief introduction and then have residents sit at round tables and participate in brainstorming sessions.
They will use a variety of methods to gauge public opinion, including showing photos of various stormwater facilities in other cities. Attendees will be able to vote in realtime polls via text message.
Officials will take the input received Tuesday and develop several concepts for the site, which will presented at another public meeting, set for Sept. 28. A third meeting on Nov. 8 will unveil the preferred concept and discuss the next steps.
The city entered into a contract to buy the 7.24-acre Rodney property from the University of Delaware for as much as $2.1 million. However, the city has up to four years to decide whether to go through with the purchase, which is contingent on a successful referendum seeking residents’ approval to take on debt for the project.
City officials first publicly discussed the possibility of buying the property for use as a stormwater pond in March 2015, shortly after UD announced it would shut down Rodney.
Several large stormwater pipes meet under Rodney, and building a stormwater pond there would help relieve flooding on either side of the western area drainage ditch that runs from South Main Street to the Christina River south of Silverbrook. When the ditch overflows, it floods the Old Newark neighborhood, including Apple Road, Beverly Road and Dallas Avenue.
Officials have said the project will likely also include park-like amenities, such as a walking trail, outdoor classroom and an informational kiosk about stormwater management and the history of the area.
An artist’s rendering from two years ago shows an early vision of what the Rodney stormwater project could look like.