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Community feedback helps shape the future of Cooch’s Bridge

Delaware Public Media
Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site

Cooch’s Bridge, the site of Delaware’s only Revolutionary War battleground, is getting some much-needed improvements.

To do that, the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is seeking community feedback.

Delaware Public Media’s Kyle McKinnon recently sat down with Kaitlyn Dykes – Site Manager of the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site – to learn more about the plans for one of the state’s most hallowed areas.

Delaware Public Media’s Kyle McKinnon discusses the plans for Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site with site manager Kaitlyn Dykes

Delaware’s only Revolutionary War battleground will get some improvements - with help from the public.

The goal is to enhance public access to the site in Newark and public understanding of all aspects of Cooch’s Bridge, and the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs is using public input in its planning.

There were three workshops in October, and the hope is to get as much feedback as possible.

The workshops were to determine not just what history the people want to see, but how they want to engage with that history.

Kaitlyn Dykes is the Site Manager of the Cooch’s Bridge Historic Site. She says since the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs has owned the site since 2018, they get to put their own touch on it.

"We essentially have a clean slate. So because the site has been privately owned for so long we're starting from scratch as far as the creation of a museum and a historic site, which is very exciting because it gives us the opportunity to start at the very beginning. Most places don't get that chance," said Dykes.

The feedback from the public included what people liked and didn’t like about other historical sites similar to this one.

Dykes says other feedback focused on the history of the Revolutionary War battle there.

"We heard a lot over the course of the public workshops about people's interest in that history, and sort of their identifying how important that is to them and how important it is that is an integral part of the story that we tell here on the site," said Dykes.

Dykes notes even though there are no more workshops they’re still getting feedback from neighbors on the site and other communities that have a connection to the site like the Indigenous and African-American communities.

They’re willing to hear input from the public via email or phone.

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Kyle McKinnon is a producer for The Green with a passion for storytelling and connecting with people.