Sussex County Council approved $450,000 Tuesday to help purchase and preserve more than 30 acres of open space.
The land is located off Route 9 near Cool Spring. It's mostly fielded with a woodland edge and a small creek running alongside the planned state trail system that will connect Lewis and Georgetown.
The county is picking up just over half the cost of the land. State and private funds secured by the Sussex County Land Trust will cover the rest.
Land Trust Executive Director Mark Chura says the parcel will eventually be home to a trailhead for the planned state walking trail.
“This will mark the first addition of land onto the rail trail corridor going between Lewis and Georgetown,” said Chura. “We hope that it’s not the last, but we think this is an important addition to this emerging trail system.”
The new trail system will add 15 miles of trail to an existing system connecting Lewes to Rehoboth.
Chura says the property owners of the land parcel are glad to see their land preserved for state use.
“Frankly, they had other offers from developers that would have yielded more money,” said Chura. “But they felt it was important to protect it and were able to work with us and in fact gave us a price on the parcel that was below appraised value.”
Chura adds the Land Trust is currently in discussions with other groups to partner with on adding additional outdoor activities to the property.
This is the sixth parcel the county is helping the Land Trust preserve. The county has committed an estimated $6.1 million over the past ten years to save 951 acres.