resolution introduced by Councilman Robert Woods and passed
unanimously at Council's meeting on Jan. 13 is intended to begin
the process of clearing most of the Christiana Hundred
community, which was almost wiped out by the nor'easter and
hurricane in September, as quickly as possible.
actual appropriation will be made at the next meeting, on Jan.
27, according to Council president Christopher Coons.. That is
because that requires an ordinance and ordinances cannot be
enacted at the same meeting at which they are introduced.
government is expected to also put up $15 million, but that
cannot actually happen until the General Assembly enacts the
annual capital-spending budget in late June. Delaware's
congressional delegation reportedly is working to obtain federal
money to reimburse state and county governments, but nothing is
expected to move forward in that regard until late spring or
Meanwhile, County Executive Tom Gordon said, residents still
living in Glenville and those in other low-lying communities
along the Red Clay Creek remain in danger of being hit by
storm. "I don't think we can wait any longer [to] begin moving
those people out of harm's way," he told a meeting of a
coordinating taskforce of public officials on Jan. 12.
Brainard, Governor Ruth Ann Minner's chief of staff and chairman
of the taskforce, agreed. "We can't wait till spring or summer
and pray there's not another storm," he said.
said that, had the nor'easter, which sent a veritable wall of
water careening down the Red Clay, hit at night instead of
mid-afternoon, there would most certainly have been multiple
A dam on Red Clay Creek
just upstream from the Kiamensi Road bridge. (Photo courtesy
of Duffield Associates)
that it is his intention to see that New Castle County's
contribution to the buy-out is made available quickly. That
could be as soon as seven days after Council acts, he said.
Marino, a Glenville resident, told the taskforce that speed is
of the essence. "There are just too many people out there with
hardships," he said. "People are paying mortgages for homes they
can't live in" and others in the generally blue-collar
neighborhood are unemployed or have other adverse family
situations. More than half of the 158 houses seriously impacted
by the flood are now vacant while their former occupants are
renting living space or doubling up with relatives.
added, however, that general sentiment in the community "is that
we're pleased with the speed [at which] you're working."
there could be some question whether state or federal money will
materialize, Coons said he and his
colleagues "have a degree of confidence ... that the governor
and [county] executive will keep their word" and make the
unprecedented buy-out at least a state-county project, if not a
senator Karen Paterson told the taskforce that she has heard of
lawmakers who are unenthusiastic about channeling public money
to one community. "They're talking about [there having been]
flooding in places in Sussex County too," she said. Brainard
added that congressmen from other Eastern Seaboard states are
competing with Delaware's delegation for federal assistance for
communities in their districts which also fell victim to the
the Glenville situation apart from others, Brainard said, is
that it involves obvious public health and safety issues. Apart
from that, the state has a separate interest in acquiring
property in that area. The community lies just north of the
confluence of Red Clay and White Clay Creeks and Bread and
Cheese Island. That is near where Delaware Department of
Transportation will be required to replace wetland that will be
lost by the planned widening of the Delaware Turnpike.
Rizzo, head of DelDOT's real estate section, said the department
"is not at a point where we can give a bottom line figure" about
how much it will cost to acquire the houses which were either
destroyed or nearly destroyed. But he said a previous 'ballpark'
estimate that it will run somewhere between $28 million and $34
million is still valid.
would come down to an average of $177,000 to $215,000 for
properties which had an estimated pre-flood market value of
about $150,000. The difference, Rizzo explained, lies in
relocation costs. Even though DelDOT would buy the properties in
a phased sequence, demand for that many houses in that price
range coming at about the same time will drive up asking prices
if, indeed, there are enough houses available for sale. DelDOT
is required by law to provide sufficient money to enable
displaced property owners to acquire comparable new housing.
another 35 houses in Glenville which were not severely damaged
and are not deemed at risk. Their fate is uncertain at this
time. Some residents have indicated a desire to remain and Rizzo
pointed out that DelDOT cannot justify using its power of
eminent domain to force them out.
long-range study of conditions in its watershed is aimed at
taming the Red Clay by such things as removing up to a dozen
dams placed in it over many years to channel the stream,
according to Kevin Donnelly, director of water resources for the
state Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control.
feasibility study to define the scope of what has to be done, he
said, could get underway in April or May. He estimated that it
will cost between $150,000 and $200,000, jointly sponsored by
his department and DelDOT.
Bross, president of Duffield Associates, a Pike Creek-based
consulting firm, said the cooperative response to Glenville's
plight and willingness of the government entities involved to
expand that to deal with the potential for flooding upstream to
the Pennsylvania border and, perhaps, beyond, is something of a
fortuitous result of the devastating storms. "There are a lot of
opportunities beyond Glenville," he said. "We have the
opportunity to provide a much higher level of safety and
said the focus on Glenville is in response to "a major public
safety issue ... [but it] doesn't mean we're forgetting about
the other communities."