Kent Co. Sports Complex Uncertainty A Growing Concern - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Kent Co. Sports Complex Uncertainty A Growing Concern

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FREDERICA, Del. – The push for economic growth across Delmarva is unmistakable, but what some are calling a huge opportunity for Kent County, and even Delaware as a whole, is now at a standstill.

Frederica residents and leaders, along with members of surrounding communities, came together Tuesday night to see how they can finally get the ball rolling on a million-dollar, 15-field, "Kent County Regional Sports Complex." The project, which would take over at least 80 acres of land along Del. 1 in Frederica, was reportedly supposed to break ground sometime this year, but now exactly when or if that will happen, is up in the air.

"We've made a lot of plans expecting this to be going on, and now we have to reset and sit back about what our plan of attack is," says Ricky Maddox, secretary for Frederica Council.

Kent County Commissioners say the hold-up is a $25 million exchange, known as the South Frederica Overpass Project. DelDOT reportedly proposed the plan back in 2009, and that's when Kent County saw the opportunity for the sports complex. Since then, the exchange has been pushed back, and commissioners say without it, the venue is not possible.

"I don't see how you can encourage families to come into an area and use an interchange that is not safe," says Fourth District Commissioner Eric Buckson with the Kent County Levy Court.

"It's really holding up any funding that would make the complex a reality," says Robert Murphy, a Frederica resident who organized Tuesday night's meeting.

$3.8 million dollars in state funds were also set aside for the project, but Delaware lawmakers recently made a decision to divert the funds to bail out Delaware's three casinos.

Commissioner Buckson says he does not dispute the decision, and is confident that they will repay the money as promised.

Most residents agree. However, with the potential for $18 million annually in revenue, along with hundreds of new jobs for the area, residents are concerned that any further delay could be detrimental.

"Some of the buildings that were going to be built are sort of holding up waiting for this overpass to go, the sports complex to go, we have a major development on Route 12 that has also been held up," says William Glanden, mayor of Frederica. "I'm pretty sure if we had this sports complex going that would bring a lot of people down here and would probably get interested in real estate in the area."

"We see this as an avenue to grow the town, to grow the business, to grow jobs for the people who do live here in town," says Maddox. "That is an anchor for us."

Murphy says Tuesday night was the first of many meetings. He hopes to start a committee, petitions, contact local and state representatives, and continue to have meetings that will educate and inform citizens until the park is complete.

"It's time for the citizens to speak out, so that's what we're trying to do," he says.

For more information on how you can get involved with their efforts, email freindsforkcrsc@aol.com

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