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New wetlands park is dedicated in South Wilmington

Ribbon cutting for the new Southbridge Wilmington Wetlands Park on October 19, 2022.

The Southbridge Wilmington Wetlands Park is officially dedicated.

The park - bordered by A Street, Walnut Street, and Garasches Lane in South Wilmington - took 16 years to complete from the start of planning and cost $26 million

The park serves multiple purposes -- it can be used for the usual enjoyment, relaxation, and recreation, while doubling as a 20-acre stormwater management facility.

The park will help restore and enhance 14 acres of wetlands, including stormwater capacity according to Public Works Commissioner Kelly Williams.

"What this wetland does is it mitigates flooding. It stores over 2 million gallons of stormwater that previously caused flooding in these homes back here. It improves our water quality as the storm water traverses over a mile of wetlands; it restores the tidal wetland with 62 different planted species," said Williams.

The park also increases local walkability and recreational opportunities - featuring a wide, handicap accessible boardwalk pathway through the wetlands for everyone to use.

Mayor Mike Purzycki says the site of the park was originally identified by the community when residents advocated for it before planning started.

The area was cleaned up with 8,200 truckloads of contaminated soil hauled away before becoming a 20-acre park and stormwater management facility before becoming the park it is today.

Senator Tom Carper describes it as a recycling project.

"We don't think of it as a recycling project, but this is a recycling project. We've taken a big piece of land, it was badly treated, badly treated for many years, and we've transformed it in one way to make it even better. Not just this piece of land, but the whole community down here," said Carper.

The park features 1800 feet of handicap accessible trail connecting Southbridge to the shopping and businesses of South Walnut and South Market Streets.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.