Delaware town gives problem property a new purpose

    Today, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will dedicate a new park on the site at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. At 12 p.m., Bowers Beach will celebrate the official opening of Main Street Park with live music, food vendors, and an inaugural bocce match, on the park’s new courts.

    For years the privately owned lot at 118 Williams Street in Bowers Beach, Delaware was repeatedly damaged by floodwaters, measuring more than 30 inches above the ground floor. The location of the new bocce courts, where a house used to stand, was graded during construction.

    The former property owner knew that flooding would continue to be a problem, and approached officials to suggest a buyout. Loans and grants from FEMA and the Delaware Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund covered the buy-out and demolition costs for that and the adjacent property.

    “Taking the site of a primary residence which was repeatedly flooded and converting it to open-space recreational use is a great utilization of these programs,” said Michael Powell, a program manager for the DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship.

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