In his weekly message, filmed at Fort DuPont State Park, Governor Markell discusses efforts to address the environmental and historic preservation goals of the site while enhancing economic opportunities for the State.
Our theme for this year has been unleashing Delaware’s potential to create economic opportunity and enhance the quality of life for our people. I’m standing on property that represents one of the most beautiful and historic, and also one of the most underutilized sites in the state. Delaware City’s Fort DuPont complex, which includes a state park, was home to a fort that defended the region in the 19th and 20th centuries. It housed a thriving military community and played a role in both World Wars. The land’s history and natural beauty make it one of our state’s greatest treasures. Yet it has fallen into disrepair, defined by old, vacant, crumbling buildings and flooding challenges. Working with Representative Val Longhurst, Senator Nicole Poore, and Delaware City, my Administration is taking steps to help bring Ft. DuPont back to life. We can expand recreational opportunities, restore wildlife habitat, preserve historic buildings, remove blight and create opportunities to increase tourism and entrepreneurship that will spur economic development. Flooding and other environmental concerns must be addressed. But these issues are far from unique, especially in low-lying states with an industrial past. Now we’ve taken the next step toward encouraging private development in parts of the complex while also working to meet environmental and historic preservation goals. This week, I signed legislation authorizing the creation of the Fort DuPont Redevelopment Corporation, which will spearhead redevelopment of Ft. DuPont in much the same way that the Riverfront Development Corporation did for the Wilmington Riverfront. As one Delaware City resident said: “Once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t recreate history.” We can abandon our history or we can restore it. By choosing to restore Fort DuPont and by maximizing its economic and environmental potential, we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.
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