"This is going to be
a long haul," said Stuart Watson, secretary of the organization,
at a gathering of about 50 members and supporters who walked
down the hill on Apr. 26 as a combination public demonstration
and an opportunity to hear about properties along Philadelphia
Pike which are considered to be historic.
The road itself
merits that description in that it is said to be one of the
first intercolony connector,
then known as the
There is a proposal
pending before the Delaware Department of Transportation to have
Philadelphia Pike between the Delaware-Pennsylvania border north
of Claymont and the Wilmington city line officially designated
as a scenic and cultural route.
Kennett Pike and
Montchanin Road in Christiana Hundred and Delaware and
Pennsylvania Avenues in Wilmington have already been afforded
that status on a state level and have applied to have that
the historic Penny House en route to a gathering of
the Friends of Penny Hill.
to achieve federal
recognition. There also is a bid pending for
State Route 9 along the Delaware River south of New
New Castle County
Councilman Robert Weiner told the Penny Hill gathering that
DelDOT has requested additional documentation to support the
southern end of the Philadelphia Pike application prior to
scheduling a public hearing on the proposal.
A separate proposal
now under consideration would locate the northern Delaware
portion of the East Coast Greenway, a pedestrian and bicycle
'urban trail' between Maine and Florida, along parallel Governor
In the shorter
range, Philadelphia Pike from Claymont to Wilmington has been
identified as part of the route, traversing eight states, which
probably will be designated by the National Park Service, a unit
of the U.S. Department of the Interior, as an 'historic trail'.
That is the route taken by George
may be put up for sale
U.S. Coast Guard is about to declare the
range light and adjacent keeper's house
(not in the photograph) south of
Bellefonte to be surplus property. The
now automated light has been a
navigational aid to ships on the
Delaware River since 1920. It is said to
be the only block-shaped lighthouse in
the United States.
Washington's Continental Army and the French
expeditionary force led by the Count of Rochambeau
en route to the climactic Battle of Yorktown which
resulted in the successful conclusion of the
Ennis announced at the gathering that the state Department of
Natural Resources & Environmental Control is about to seek bids
on a contract for remediation of environmental problems, which
will permit opening up the second section of Fox Point State
Park between the northern limit of the existing park and the
small cove where Stoney Creek empties into the Delaware.
Ennis said the
extent of work required in the second section is considerably
less than was needed in the initial phase, during which an
impermeable plastic liner was needed to separate a new surface
from contaminated soil. A thick layer of dirt should be enough
to do the job in the second section, he said. When remediation
is accomplished, he added, he intends to follow through on his
long-standing idea of seeking private investment to construct a
marina, restaurant and other amenities in the cove.
Weiner told the
assembly that the necessary paperwork to permit his introduction
into County Council of a measure to apply historic zoning to the
Weldin House, which would have been torn down to make room for
the Seven-Eleven. The required public notification timetable and
hearings before both Council and the Planning Board will delay
the process beyond the hoped-for June completion, but he said
that, with no foreseeable opposition, the process will be
called on the Friends organization to support three of his
proposals, which he said are currently languishing "on the dusty
back desks of the [Department of] Land Use." They would:
an historic property credit against New Castle County taxes,
similar to the one that exists for state taxes.
a program to provide low-cost loans to repair historic property
balanced by penalties to prevent 'demolition by neglect' -- to
prevent a property owner from allowing a property to deteriorate
to a point where it has to be torn down rather than preserved.
up a curator program whereby a person or family would agree to
live in or otherwise occupy a publicly owned historic building
rent-free in return for maintaining the property.
Weiner said the
three proposals have encountered opposition within county
government and asked the Friends organization for backing.
"Nothing happens until you have broad-based public support," he