attender at the June 14 meeting of the civic council gave him
that opportunity by opening the post-speech discussion with a
question: "Is it too late for alterations?"
ma'am," the man who shares the ultimate decision-making role
with the governor replied.
patiently thanked the umbrella civic group for its continued
interest in the Blue Ball Project and told it not to feel
embarrassed or apologetic about raising points as the project
proceeds. "There are going to be a lot more meetings ... [it]
will require a lot more cooperation and teamwork," he said.
went on to categorically defend putting a partial interchange at
the location as "a community decision" hammered out after
extensive discussion and debate as one of a set of compromises
that will guide "the single largest [example] of combined
transportation and park development in Delaware."
to do it right because there's not going to be another chance,"
council's executive committee had called upon Delaware
Department of Transportation to take another look at a
cloverleaf design for the interchange. Its concept is a somewhat
modified version of the cloverleaf configuration -- it was
presented under the catchphrase 'double bow tie' at the time --
considered by members of the project's transportation advisory
committee. The civic council maintains that using its design
would consume less land, be cheaper to build and eliminate the
need for a network of 'local traffic' roads through the planned
Blue Ball parkland and conservation area.
Delaforum previously reported, Hayward and other DelDOT
officials earlier had dismissed the idea. Daniel Bockover,
president of the civic council, remarked while introducing
Hayward that the secretary would bring "some new information"
bearing on the issue to the group. He did not.
after the meeting whether the civic council now considers the
matter closed, Bockover said, "I don't know. That's up to the
earlier told the meeting, at which he was re-elected unopposed
to a second two-year term, that the committee took its stance
because "we don't think it would be a desirable thing to mix
vehicles with children at play in the park."
did not specifically speak to that point except to note several
times during his remarks that the Blue Ball Project is being
designed in a way that will blend recreation, conservation and
no vote was taken, it was obvious at the general meeting that
there is divided opinion among the civic council's membership on
the issue with sentiment leaning toward letting matters stay as
they are. The secretary's remarks drew applause that was more
than perfunctory and several who participated in the discussion
period expressed agreement with him.
Bramble, of Deerhurst, questioned the procedure by which the
council's stated position came about. She said she is a regular
attender at its meetings but "the first I heard about this was
when I read about [the executive committee's position] in the
'Community News' (a weekly newspaper)." The civic council's
executive committee meets behind closed doors, permitting others
to attend by invitation when that is considered appropriate.
majority [of the DelDOT advisory committee] decided and we
should live with the decision," Bramble, who was a member of
that group, said.
said the extensive Blue Ball highway plan is "on a very tight
schedule" with detailed planning now under way and completion
scheduled for 2006. The first phase -- building part of a 'local
traffic' net which will be used to detour traffic off Concord
Pike during later phases before being restored to its original
purpose and configuration -- is expected to go bid this autumn
with the construction contract awarded in January, 2002.
other things, he said, federal dollars to pay part of the cost
are predicated on carrying forward presently approved plans.
"It's now a mandate of the federal government,:" he said. He did
not, however, give any information about how the financing is to
be divided between state and federal dollars.
characterized the standing decision as one reached through an
open and public process. "It was a very deliberate decision on
the part of the group that worked on the plan. ... It's not
something that was conceived behind a mahogany desk in the
[DelDOT] administration building in Dover," he said.
decision actually was made by Hayward's predecessor, Anne Canby,
and former governor, Thomas Carper. Hayward acknowledged that he
did not participate in the advisory process, but said he
supports the result, as does Governor Ruth Ann Minner.
time to conclude this particular chapter," Hayward said.
backed by state Representative Greg Lavelle, who did
participate, as a civic activist, in the original
decision-making process. As did others, he said there were
aspects of the plan he does not like, but concluded, "The state
of Delaware made a commitment to the community [and] a
commitment to Astra Zeneca. It's got to move forward -- the
sooner the better."
community made this decision. We have to do it on time," added
state Senator Dallas Winslow.
became the first highly-placed state official to specifically
acknowledge in public what many people have known all along:
that the Blue Ball highway and park plans are intrinsically
interwoven with the economic development effort to have Astra
Zeneca locate expanded headquarters and research operations
adjacent to the Brandywine Hundred site of the former Zenca, one
of the components of the merged international pharmaceuticals
both DelDOT and the state's Open Space Council had long
considered what should be done at Blue Ball. But, he added, "it
wasn't until we were able to respond to Astra Zeneca's interest
in Delaware as a headquarters" that the respective projects
could move forward together. "Would it have happened some time
in the future? I don't know. But it wouldn't have happened as
grandly and as forcefully without the opportunity to respond to
Astra Zeneca's corporate needs."
that the community will benefit from the result in much the same
measure as the company will -- "You will all be happy with it."
-- Hayward said that to attempt to revise the highway plans now
would cause the whole thing to unravel. "The dialogue was
sufficiently long and sufficiently intense. This is not the time
to make any changes," he said.
Castle County Councilman Richard Abbott, however, called him to
task on alleged inconsistency after Hayward disclosed that a
compromise had been worked out at a luncheon meeting on June 8
involving the interested parties to allow not only a childcare
center for Astra Zeneca employees but also a parking lot for the
center and the Ronald McDonald House across Rockland Road in the
designated Blue Ball conservation area. There also is to be a
pedestrian-operated traffic light on to let people cross
Rockland Road between the hostel and the lot.
people made the decision to change the recommendation of [the
committee which] wanted this to be open space," Abbott charged.
He noted that the issue of the childcare facility had been
subject to discussion at an open-to-the-public meeting of
lawmakers late last year but then went underground until it was
settled.. "The meetings were stopped and a decision was made,"
he said. "A significant change [to the original plan] was made
entirely on the influence of the Astra Zeneca people."
Lavelle, the civic council's land use chairman and brother of
the state representative, said "conversation suddenly was shut
off and you settled [the issue] by making an arrangement with
previously reported by Delaforum, it has been decided that Astra
Zeneca will be given a place for its childcare unit in return
for the state's placing a large storm management pond on its
headquarters property. The swap has been acknowledged to be
advantageous because the pond can be built at less cost and will
be more effective at that location. At the same time, it was
disclosed that arrangements have been made for the state to
acquire a large former private estate across from Brandywine
Creek State Park, about three miles away, which will be
preserved as open space.
said the parking lot will allow Ronald McDonald House -- which
provides living accommodations for families of ill children
being treated at the Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children --
to expand in its present location. There had been talk that it,
too, would seek to build in the conservation area.
that the arrangement will be beneficial to all concerned and
"you will be pleased when you see the final design [for the
childcare facility] that Astra Zeneca is going to put forward."
another matter at the meeting, Rob Kohlmansberger, a DelDOT
consultant, reported that a study of noise levels along
Interstate 95 and Interstate 495 has found several significantly
impacted communities but that it is still up in the air what, if
anything, can be cone to ameliorate that. He said levels exceed
Federal Highway Administration standards in only one place along
I-95 and a just a few along I-495. That would determine whether
the federal agency would help pay for noise abatement or whether
it will require the state to foot the entire bill.
Ultimately it will be up to the General Assembly to decide on
the basis of recommendations from the study which it authorized
under a resolution that Winslow sponsored.
The identified impacted communities
are: Ashborune Hills, Augustine Ridge, Brookview, Hillendale,
Radnor Green, Windybush and Wycliffe along I-95; and Addicks
Estate, the center of Claymont, Governors House, Holly Oak,
Harbor House, River Ridge, Rolling Park and Seton along