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Work on upgrades to Fort Delaware State park begin

State of Delaware/DNREC

DNREC is beginning construction on a project at Fort Delaware State Park to address several issues and to improve visitor experience.

The biggest piece of the $3.7 million project is stabilizing and resurfacing the tram path that brings all of the visitors from the pier to the fort.

DNREC Chief of Construction Bill Miller explains why the path needs work.

"Part of it is certainly that it just deteriorated over time just like all materials and services, and part of it is probably about half of the tram path is regularly exposed to the elements of the tidal environment and it's subject to a lot of erosion certainly in heavy storms or floods," saidf Miller. "It takes a lot of abuse and just with the nature of the island being a lot more exposed to wind and weather that's really contributed to a lot of degradation as well."

The project also calls for improving trails between the restrooms, fort, barracks and heronry using durable aggregates that will prevent soggy shoes.

Miller adds the aging heronry observation platform will be rebuilt to make it safe while maintaining its excellent access for bird watching.

And DNREC plans to build a new screened pavilion to provide a better space for groups to eat lunch or gather.

A new maintenance building is also in the works to make it safer for staff to support public access to the parks’ cultural and natural resources. 

Miller says the goal of the enhancements is to make the area more resilient to the weather.

"That's certainly important," said Miller. "We kind of try and look at that as a holistic approach to all projects, and it makes them sustainable and lasting in the long term especially with the effects of climate change. But certainly here giving the improvements that are needed in making it last."

Miller notes the project should be complete in January, and Fort Delaware State Park will remain open on as scheduled Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through the fall with work on the project done the rest of the week.