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Wilmington and Newport will soon gain a walkable/bikeable connection

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

A walkable/bikeable connection between Wilmington and Newport is coming thanks to $23 million from a federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant.

RAISE grants were created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help build state and local projects that support critical transportation infrastructure.

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer says this funding will aid the county’s efforts to offer Delawareans opportunities to live, work, and play without needing a vehicle.

“And it’s particularly important for communities that are distressed- where buying a $20,000, $30,000, or $40,000 vehicle is not practical. But you could buy a bike for a few hundred bucks and bike too and from work,” said Meyer.

This new trail builds off of New Castle County’s Connecting Communities Initiative- which works to build safe and accessible pathway connections in highly populated areas to create lower-cost transportation options, and improve public health.

Meyer says there were several loops they envisioned in the initiative.

“One loop was a loop right around the City of Wilmington. A loop that would run from the Wilmington Riverfront up to Newport, over to the Boxwood Plant that's now an Amazon warehouse, over to Wegmans down, by Hagley to the Brandywine River, into the City of Wilmington along the river, and up through the City,” he explained.

While a majority of that 16-mile Wilmington Loop project plan has already been completed, the most difficult part was connecting Wilmington to Newport.

Funding from the RAISE grant will finally allow for that 2-mile portion of the trail to be complete- and connect the loop to the multi-state East Coast Greenway trail system to become part of a connection between Wilmington and Newark.

The $23 million awarded to New Castle County is part of a total of $44 million coming to Delaware from RAISE- with the remaining $21 million helping complete a trail connecting Lewes and Georgetown.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.