Latest Claymont redevelopment plans released
The semi-final master plans for redevelopment of Claymont’s old Evraz Steel site were presented to the public Monday night in a final public comment session.
The Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO)’s Principal Planner Heather Dunigan says feedback from prior public hearings helped create an updated scenario she says reflects what the community wants.
“What our recommendations show is a recommendation for the future that includes a mix of land use including some areas with commercial space, some new retail, some industrial uses, some residential uses and all of these are connected with new internal roads that are designed to make it easy for people to walk or bike or drive," Dunigan said.
The plan for land use includes 26% open spaces, including a river walk similar to the one in Wilmington, park land along Naamans Creek and a connection to the East Coast Greenway with a new road connecting to a mixed-use area at Tri-State mall.
27% of land use proposed is earmarked for heavy industrial use.
But Dunigan stressed the plans may continue to evolve depending on landowner decisions – since most of the property is privately owned.
“The train station is the only thing that I know will happen and I know the timing," Dunigan said. "A lot of what we’re showing – it’s private properties and private developers who are going to make the changes, but it’s our hope that having it as a part of a plan will facilitate that development process.”
Work on the new Claymont train station is slated to break ground in 2018 and begin operation as early as 2019.
The train station is projected to cost $40 million. State Senator Harris McDowell says most of money is place - $10 million coming from a federal TIGER grant and $28 million reserved in a long-range capital plan with $2 million more to raise.
And as co-chair of the state budget writing Joint Finance Committee, McDowell says he expects that final $2 million will come through.
McDowell adds once the updated Claymont stop is complete, his next priority is extending the line further south to include stops in Dover and the beaches and eventually Ocean City, Maryland.
“The other development that hooks right into this – MART in Maryland is very interested in connecting up with SEPTA because they want to move people out of DC and Baltimore and get up and go to the beach by rail,” McDowell said.
Another idea: create a train line connecting the new Claymont stop with the Philadelphia airport. But the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO) says this would be very difficult and costly.
Any housing development surrounding the new train station and other proposed developments would require a new agreement with DNREC following the remediation of the old Evraz Steel site.
Dunigan said the development plan will be available on WILMAPCO’s website over the next couple of weeks, and they’re inviting public feedback within that timeframe.