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Residents question developer on Claymont Steel redevelopment project

The public got a closer look at revised plans to redevelop the former Evraz Steel site in Claymont Tuesday. 


The St. Louis-based Commercial Development Company plans to build seven office, three industrial, and six retail buildings, as well as more than 1,200 homes, on the remediated brownfield site.

The residential portion of the project will require a rezoning.  So far only plans for part of the office space and a parking garage have been submitted to the New Castle County Department of Land Use. 

Claymont resident Matthew Morris expressed concern about how the project could impact local infrastructure at Tuesday’s Claymont Renaissance Development Corporation meeting. 

“That’s going to increase our population significantly,” he said. “Can our roads handle it, can our schools handle it, can our sewage handle it?”

Other residents questioned whether the design allows sufficient access to the planned residential development along the Delaware River, which would only be served by two roads, one of which is exit-only, and one emergency access point through the neighboring Linde gas plant.  

Dave McCarthy of the Claymont Fire Company says the design could create challenges for emergency services. “Certainly we’re concerned about the access to the east side of the railroad tracks,” he said. “The plan looks great, but from an emergency access standpoint, there are some issues.”

Stephen Johns, an engineer at VanDemark & Lynch hired by the developer, is more confident. “Everything that we’ve done so far shows that our access will work,” he said. “We are planning on having another meeting with DelDOT specifically to talk about that— to discuss the design requirements.”

Officials from Delaware Transit Corporation, the Wilmington Area Planning Council and the developer’s contractors said Tuesday that area roads are currently underutilized, and could likely handle the increase in traffic the project would bring. 

“Our studies show that all the intersections meet and exceed the standards required by the County and DelDOT,” said Johns. “So there shouldn’t be any issues with traffic.” 

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is reviewing the developer’s traffic impact study. 

A new multimodal transit center being built on the site is scheduled to be finished in 2022. 

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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