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Transformation of James Farm Ecological Preserve moves forward

A beloved Sussex County public treasure is being reimagined.


Final work to transform the 150-acre James Farm Ecological Preserve near Ocean View is underway. 


“The real gem of this project is a new three-season education building, that’s going to not only enhance visitors’ learning experiences, but it’s also going to offer shelter from the elements for participants,” said Delaware Center for the Inland Bays development coordinator Anna Short.


She says the timing of this second phase of the project is excellent, coinciding with a rise in visitors, especially during the pandemic.


“More people found themselves seeking solace in the outdoors. James Farm is already a beloved property," said Short. "But it has incredible potential, not just as a recreational resource, but as a vehicle for the Center to educate our community about the importance of the Inland Bays to our region.”

In addition to the education building, planned upgrades include realigning the existing trail system and installing interpretive signs about the Preserve’s ecosystem, as well as installing permanent and ADA-compliant restrooms. 

The Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Trails Program and the Crystal Trust each gave $100,000 for this second phase of the project, while the Starrett Foundation added another $20,000. Sussex County committed $300,000 to the effort.

The project’s first phase was finished in 2019 and included an event lawn and parking.  This second phase should be completed by 2022. 


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.