Ideas sought for Rod­ney

Work­shop planned to dis­cuss stormwa­ter project

Newark Post - - Front Page - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

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.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

An artist’s ren­der­ing from two years ago shows an early vi­sion of what the Rod­ney stormwa­ter project could look like.

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