Claymont Coalition had asked state officials to look at a replay
of the process by which they quietly decided that the tower --
which will become part of the statewide 800-megahertz emergency
radio system -- should be located on an acre or so of the
22-acre school property. The rest is to be deeded, as originally
planned, to the New Castle County parks system for development
for 'passive recreation'.
Patterson, press secretary to Governor Ruth Ann Minner, in a
letter to coalition president George Lossé and County Councilman
Robert Weiner cited six reasons why an alternate site offered by
the Church of the Ascension would not be acceptable.
process for choosing a tower site in Claymont was driven
primarily by the technical requirement of finding the best
signal strength for the largest area, while also factoring in
the speed at which a site could be developed, feasibility and
cost. These criteria all support the choice of
Woodshaven-Kruse," he wrote.
said that, if the community had been aware earlier of the desire
to put a tower in the area, "we could have found them a more
suitable site [but] because of safety considerations for our
police and firefighters we will accept the Woodshaven-Kruse
of its agreement with the county, the state demolished the
one-time school buildings and those which constituted a women's
prison and cleaned up asbestos and other environmental problems.
That work was completed, according to a state source, in late
July and legal documents for the transfer of ownership of the
property were prepared. But unspecified county officials
reportedly agreed to hold up on the actual closing until the
state decided whether to put a tower there. It was left up to
the state to publicly disclose plans for what early-on was
expected to be a controversial project and proceed through the
county's regulatory process for such facilities.
Delaforum inquired into reasons for the delay in moving ahead
with the park -- the most recent plan was to hold a media event
this autumn to mark the end of more than a decade of up-front
and behind-the-scenes deliberations on the future of the
property on which the school for 'wayward girls' stood --
Patterson disclosed plans for the tower, at first referring to
it as a "piece of equipment."
community activists bristled at being excluded from the
decision-making loop and called a public meeting at which the
Church of the Ascension's offer of some of its unused land about
a half mile from the park was put forth.
to one published account, the coalition did not object to having
a transmission tower for the radio system in the community. As
it happened, two volunteer firefighters from the Claymont
company had been endangered when their radio communications
failed while inside a burning building. That was one of the more
serious problems which have troubled the unified radio system.
It and the current wave of intense public support for
firefighters and rescue workers led the coalition and others to
support erecting a tower but proposing that other locations be
considered as being less detrimental to the public's using the
park. Some people fear ill-effects from coming into close
proximity with microwave transmission.
letter, Patterson cited these reasons for favoring the
Woodhaven-Kruse site over the Church of the Ascension site:
Woodshaven-Kruse would provide 94
square miles of coverage versus 85 square miles from the church,
according to computer modeling.
The church site is not as high and
therefore provides less coverage.
The church site is not wide enough
to meet the county's setback requirements for a tower that will
be 270 feet tall.
The church site is heavily wooded
and that not only prevents conducting a field test but also
would result in its taking longer and costing more to erect the
Changing the proposed site at this
time would add a month or two to construction time and because
there is no longer summer foliage field testing would not be as
accurate on a year-around basis as the test conducted last
The church site borders a 100-year
Consequently, he wrote, "the state intends to proceed with
placement of the tower at the Woodshaven-Kruse property."
"We will move quickly to separate
land needed for the tower and complete transfer of the rest of
the parcel to New Castle County for use as a park -- something
the Claymont community needs and has been patiently waiting