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Middle Run Valley Natural Area to grow with new county purchase

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Middle Run Valley Natural Area connects to White Clay Creek State Park

The Middle Run Valley Natural Area in Pike Creek is getting a little bigger— thanks to an upcoming New Castle County land purchase. 

New Castle County Council unanimously approved the purchase of about 17 acres from Delaware Hospice Inc. Tuesday. 

It will cost the County more than $1 million to buy, but officials say the amount is already included in this year’s budget under the Open Space Preservation Capital Project.

Councilman Tim Sheldon said the purchase comes after a multi-year effort to negotiate with the developer—and was motivated by the land’s location next to existing parkland. 

“We’re not stopping millionaires from building next to millionaires,” he said. “We’re actually having a park adjacent to other parks, which will go from Carousel bike path all the way to the City of Newark.”

The Middle Run Valley Natural Area, owned by the County and managed by the Delaware Nature Society for biodiversity, connects to White Clay Creek State Park. County officials say the new acquisition will function primarily as a meadow and be mowed twice a year. 

“I represent the Coalition of Natural Stream Valleys of Delaware, Inc., and we unambiguously support the acquisition of the property,” said Arabella Bianco, a member of the public, speaking at Council’s Tuesday meeting. 

The County will also need to pay closing costs on the property estimated at $7,700 and an environmental assessment of the property estimated at $3,000.


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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