Weekend ribbon cutting inaugurates 248th park in New Castle County park system
Watch video highlights at https://youtu.be/1z1xe9OGJ34
Wilmington, DE – On Saturday, April 27 County Executive Matt Meyer, County Council President Karen Hartley-Nagle, County Councilman John Cartier, Edgemoor Gardens Civic Association President Michelle Lamonica, State Senator Darius Brown, State Representative Debra Heffernan, along with County Parks, Community Services and Public Works staff and County Community policing officers joined area youth, civic leaders and local residents to cut the ribbon on the newly-constructed Edgemoor Gardens Park. The first new County park established in more than 15 years, it was built on two vacant neighborhood lots through a collaboration between New Castle County, which constructed and will operate the park, the Edgemoor Civic Association, which donated the land, and funding support from DNREC through the Delaware Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Trails Program.
“This park started with a community that expressed the critical need for neighborhood kids to have a safe place to play,” County Executive Matt Meyer said. “It continued with the tremendous financial commitment from DNREC and political commitment from Councilman John Cartier. This is a shining example of democracy that works.”
The new park meets a longstanding desire in the surrounding neighborhood for accessible recreation and local residents and civic leaders have embraced the park as a safe gathering space. The one-acre neighborhood park features a basketball court, playground and paved perimeter walking trail, with future plans for additional recreation amenities. Construction got underway last summer.
Local County Council district member John Cartier, the prime champion for the Edgemoor Gardens Park, applauded County Executive Meyer’s commitment of county resources to build the park, thanked fellow Council members for their support and recognized the advocacy of the Edgemoor Civic Association, Bellevue Community Center, Edgemoor Revitalization Cooperative, the Lions Club and members of the local faith community and long-time community members. “We have succeeded in establishing this park because many stakeholders have come together to build an ecology of concern over time to improve our community,” Councilman Cartier said. “Your collective effort strengthens my ability to engage successfully with county, state and non-profit decisionmakers to get things done on your behalf, and as we celebrate today’s achievement I believe we have reached a milestone moment which demonstrates sustained momentum in moving Edgemoor Gardens forward as a safe and thriving community.”
Both Meyer and Cartier thanked DNREC for providing $100,000 in state funding support to defray construction costs. They also recognized Crew Chief II Terry Casson and Acting Chief of Construction Support Stacy McNatt from the County’s Department of Public Works, whose staff worked through challenging and unpredictable weather conditions to construct the park over the past several months. A significant amount of construction-related activity, including clearing and excavation, installation of an underground stormwater management system, and landscaping was completed in-house by the County’s Construction Support Division, saving thousands of dollars of expense.
The Edgemoor Gardens Park reflects a broader commitment to support community revitalization, with New Castle County investments also including support for Edgemoor Grows Together, a community-initiated program that provides enrichment activities for area youth, sponsorship of recreation programs in partnership with the Edgemoor Revitalization Cooperative (ERC), a New Castle County Police Community Engagement team assigned to the community, support for local housing initiatives and more.
“This park has immediately become a gathering place for our community,” said Edgemoor Gardens Civic Association President Michelle Lamonica. “During construction, the moment the playground equipment went up and before the cement even set on the basketball court residents were out here shooting hoops and using the equipment, and on any given day after work you’ll find 30 or 40 kids and adults playing together. This park is getting kids off the streets and it’s prompting connections and conversations among residents who would not normally interact with each other. It’s building community and that’s making us stronger together.
“To all the young people in this community, this park is about you and the future of this community,” said State Senator Darius Brown. “I firmly believe that our future looks back at us and prays that we can see beyond our time. Thanks to commitment by local residents, County Executive Matt Meyer, County Councilman John Cartier and fellow council members and others we are standing together in a space that improves the community and opens the door to bright days ahead for Edgemoor Gardens.”
“It is exciting to join you to celebrate the opening of this new park,” said State Representative Debra Heffernan. “I want to recognize members of this community for their leadership and especially Councilman Cartier for his tireless work which served as the impetus that got us here today.” Representative Heffernan worked behind the scenes for several years to secure the transfer of the park’s parcels of land that were owned by the original - and long-disbanded - homeowner’s association to the current Civic Association so that construction could begin.
Saturday’s ribbon cutting ceremony followed a morning community cleanup sponsored by the Edgemoor Gardens Civic Association, with support from the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and other community organizations.
Contact: Jason Miller, Director of Communications, 302-545-1462