Kent County getting new trail that will improve walkability, connections
Delaware’s 2013 to 2018 comprehensive outdoor recreation plan says the state is trying to expand and connect existing trails to create a more walkable environment. Kent County is set to get a new trail in the end of October.
The trail is called the Kesselring Loop Project Trail. It’s a mile-long loop that will go around the Kent County Recreation Center in Dover.
It will be the fourth loop trail in Kent County. Jeremy Shepard, the county’s director of community services, said the aim is to help get people on their feet and outside.
“It provides for a safe place for people to walk. I think that’s what people generally want. They’re not comfortable walking on the streets or sidewalks,” Shepard said.
Every three years, officials re-evaluate the Delaware State Comprehensive Outdoors Recreation Plan plan. Shephard said the no. 1 thing people want are trails.
According to the 2009-2011 plan, the state surveyed residents about which outdoor activities they’ll participate in over a one-year period. Eighty-five percent said they will participate in walking or jogging. The state’s network of trails allows them to do that.
“We’re excited to provide these for residents of Kent County- we know they’re wanted and needed and we want them to continue to come to us and say ‘hey we need more’,” Shephard said.
In 2010, the county purchased the 53-acre parcel from the Kesselring family. Two years later, they formed a partnership with the Boys and Girls Club to build an indoor facility on the site and turn the rest into future parkland.
After this project is complete, county officials hope to build a wetland bridge to connect it to the Brecknock Nature Trail in Camden.
Eventually, they’d like to connect it to the POW-MIA parkway so residents can walk from the recreation center to Rt. 13. Kent County Levy Court commissioner Eric Buckson said this will be a key connection for the Dover-Camden-Wyoming area, and for the whole county.
“If you look at what the state’s goals are in referencing their new transportation sector, if you combine it with that and start to connect trails in the other end of Dover, you can see how it’s going to help create what we’re looking for — safe walkways, a safe passage, hopefully not just in that area, but throughout Kent County.”
Shepard said the loop trail cost about $50,000, including the cost of materials and labor.
The county plans to construct it in October and have it ready for the public Oct. 31.