Fort DuPont redevelopment important

This letter was published in the June 15 edition of The News Journal.

When students visit Delaware City, they board a ferry and head to Pea Patch Island to tour Fort Dela­ware. They bypass a historic site on the mainland that played a role during the Civil War and World War II, because it has long been forgotten.

But the state is on the cusp of turning this under­utilized property into something truly special. The 443-acre Fort DuPont complex adjacent to Delaware City includes more than 20 buildings from the for­mer military installation and Governor Bacon Health Center. Many of these buildings, including a 398-seat theater, are vacant. There is great potential here, but we need to take that first step.

Efforts to redevelop and revitalize the Fort Du-Pont complex have been ongoing for nearly three years, with a working group of state and Delaware City officials identifying a plan suggesting public spaces, community facilities, historic buildings and new development to establish Fort DuPont as a mixed-use community.

The site plan suggests a new marina, a bridge over the canal connecting to Delaware City’s down­town, different housing types, restoration of historic buildings, outdoor recreation, environmental resto­ration and other business development.

The House has passed my bill that sets up a cor­poration and board of directors to oversee the rede­velopment of the Fort DuPont complex. This is an important project that could provide private in­vestment and help revitalize Delaware City. We are just at the first step of a long process, but it is impor­tant we take this step, or we will just continue to stand still. 

Valerie Longhurst House Majority Leader (15th District) 

Delaware City