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Planned park in Newark may be delayed again over funding concerns

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The Newark Reservoir, near the site of the planned park project

Newark Mayor Jerry Clifton asked City staff Monday if they could delay a planned park project—and avoid a tax increase. 


City officials have proposed paying for the park planned for Old Paper Mill Road near the Newark Reservoir with $1.5 million in federal COVID relief funds. The City has also proposed a 5% tax increase. 

Clifton said during Monday’s City Council meeting that he does not think it’s a good time to raise taxes. 

“I don’t know that there’s any rush to build that, not this year, not next year, not the year after,” Clifton said. “Hopefully someday it gets built.”

The Newark Post reports that the park project has been delayed several times before because of a lack of funding. 

City Manager Tom Coleman said Monday the City could use some of the COVID relief funds to cover two IT projects and offset the immediate need for the tax increase—but after those funds dry up, the City will eventually need to raise taxes to fund infrastructure maintenance. 

“I do caution Council that, longterm, the rent’s going to come due,” Coleman said. “So we’re delaying something that will end up having to happen in the future.”

Councilman Travis McDermott, who represents the area where the park would be built, said he will look for other places in the budget to make cuts.


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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