Meeting Minutes

Blue Ball Intermediate Services

WRT Project #99-1775

Meeting: Recreation/Historic Preservation Technical Committee
Date: September 8, 1999
Location: Ronald McDonald House
Rockland Road
New Castle County, Delaware


Members in attendance:
Ms. Beverley Baxter, Mr. Paul Bechly, Mr. Peter Bilous, Mr. Daniel Bockover, Ms. Margaret G. Bramble, Mr. Mark Chura, Mr. Ralph Churchill, Hon. Catherine A. Cloutier, Ms. Pam Cornforth, Mr. Ernie Cragg, Ms. Mary Croft, Ms. Dee Durham, Hon. David H. Ennis, Mr. Tom Ferry, Ms. Carol Gaudz-Mondelberg, Bobbie Harvey, Ms. Elizabeth Holloway, Mr. Jonathan Husband, Mr. Charles B. Manula, Mr. James Matthias, Mr. Richard Mayo, Ms. Lynn Riley, Mr. Earl Shaffer, Eric J. Sturm, ASLA, Hon. Robert J. Valihura, Jr., Ms. Gail Van Gilder, Hon. Robert Weiner, Mr. Joseph Wutka.

Members absent:
Hon. Richard Abbott, Hon. Myrna L. Bair, Ms. Karen Bengston, Mr. Peter Besecker, Ms. Leah L. Blevins, Hon. Patricia M. Blevins, Mr. Colin Clark, Hon. Joseph G. DiPinto, Mr. David English, Ms. Linda Farmer, Mr. Daniel Griffith, Mr. Chuck Hall, Ms. MaryAnn Kelly, Ms. Eleanor Kraak, Mr. Greg Lavelle, Hon. Harris B. McDowell, III, Ms. Suzanne Moore, Hon. Roger P. Roy, Mr. Jerry Shea, Mr. John Shields, Jr., Mr. Robert J. Skomorucha, Mr. Ben Smith, Mr. Bill Smith, Hon. Wayne A. Smith, Hon. Liane M. Sorenson, Mr. Cash Srinivasan, Mr. Ken Turoczy, Mr. John P. Weaver, Jr., Mr. Mark Weinberg, Mr. Gregory K. Williams, Ms. L. Heather Williams, Hon. Dallas Winslow.

Mr. Richard Bartholomew, Mr. John Beckman, Mr. Rick Browne, Mr. Anthony S. Felicia, Mr. Herb Inden, Mr. Charles King, Mr. Ned Lardis, Mr. James P. Lisa, Jr., Mr. Joseph Mitchell, Mr. Jim Parks, Mr. Bill Roberts, Ms. Carole Smith, Mr. Calhoun Wick.

  1. Introduction
    The meeting began with a progress report by Mark Chura. He reviewed the background of the Master Plan and noted the significant opportunity it presents to work collaboratively with the community on the development of open space and preservation of historic resources.

    The Town Meeting on August 18, 1999 offered a brief introduction of the Master Plan and team to the public. The next Town Meeting is scheduled for this evening September 8, 1999 at Brandywine High School. After an overview, each Technical Committee Chair will report briefly on progress to date.

    The Master Plan web site has been established at It contains comprehensive information about the project in the following categories:
    • Recreation and Historic Preservation Technical Committee
    • Transportation Technical Committee
    • Agendas and Minutes
    • s and Plans
    • Publications
    • News
    • Contacts
    • Calendar
    Meeting minutes from August 16, 1999 meeting were approved.

    The preliminary list of issues identified at the August 16, 1999 meeting was reviewed and modified. The current working list of issues is as follows:
    • Restore historic resources including the Bird Husbands House, Weldin Husbands House and the Murphy House.
    • Identify origin / destination points for pedestrians and bicycles - everything should be designed for handicap accessibility.
    • Connect greenway between sites via an underground crossing of 202.
    • Porter Reservoir - possibly enlarge to encompass underground storage tank.
    • Maximize active recreation components - soccer, baseball, tennis, field hockey, lacrosse, etc.
    • Preserve open space - need for passive open space.
    • Consider Blue Ball Dairy Barn for reuse as either a golf club house, restaurant or for historic purposes.
    • Need for ownership and management responsibility plan.
    • Design standards needed for area / Visual Impacts.
    • Weldin Road - re-route road along top of Blue Ball property to enable more contiguous open space.
    • Address golf club house - expand existing course and add driving range.
    • Address wetlands mitigation & environmental factors.
    • Detention pond location.
    • Consider moving all recreation components adjacent to Skating Club and Elks Club.
    • Provide for the Ronald McDonald ten-year expansion plan.
    • Need for pedestrian connections in the area particularly between the Ronald McDonald House and the DuPont Hospital.
    • Address noise impacts.
    • Integrate Skating Club expansion plans.
    • Potential use of storm water for golf course irrigation.
    • Need for utility access in and out of area.
    • Address access problems from 202 and I-95 related to service vehicles (ambulances).
    • Minimize impacts on Rockland Road.
    • Consider feasibility of a regional library east of 202 if the community agrees it is desirable.
  2. Review of Updated Schedule
    The draft schedule has been updated to reflect current understanding of data availability, regulatory requirements, and implementation goals. The schedule (included in the Town Meeting presentation of September 8, 1999 on the web site) coordinates park planning with planning of transportation improvements and site and development planning by AstraZeneca. Transportation planning will follow Federal Highway Administration requirements. These include development and analysis of a variety of alternatives. Alternatives will be retained for examination unless they display a "fatal flaw" that clearly renders them infeasible.

    Origin/destination data will become available in early December and intersection and corridor data in early March 2000. The dates of data availability partially drive the schedule. Preliminary concepts will be developed in advance of detailed data using available information. These will illustrate general movements and circulation concepts that will be reviewed at the September 22, 1999 Technical Committee meetings. They will go through multiple cycles of review and modification over the succeeding months. The preferred transportation alternative will be selected at about the beginning of April 2000. The evaluation of the preferred, and other considered alternatives, will be documented in an Environmental Assessment report to be finalized in early summer 2000. Part of the transportation planning process includes, in addition to the Technical Committee meetings, Open Houses on October 13, 1999 and January 10, 2000. A Hearing will be conducted on April 10, 2000.

    Park planning will be coordinated with transportation planning with concept plans developed and assessed through mid-December 1999. At that time, detailed site surveys will become available documenting precise boundaries and topography. These will be necessary to proceed to more detailed master planning which will take place through early April 2000 to coincide with transportation planning. Park and transportation planning are highly interdependent. Location, character, and size of transportation improvements have an impact upon park land as do the program and design of park uses upon land availability for transportation improvements. The State's commitment to high quality design will drive the process of concept generation, evaluation, trade-off assessment and final planning and design. The park Master Plan will be prepared by mid-April 2000. The size and type of improvements proposed will determine the submissions necessary under the New Castle County Unified Development Code.

    The Master Plan schedule and process include substantial and significant public involvement. The two technical committees are anticipated to meet at least twice per month through October and approximately every three weeks thereafter. Committee membership is wide and representative and the public is invited to attend all of these meetings. A Town Meeting is scheduled every month throughout the duration of the process. In addition, newsletters will be distributed and a web site has been established to enable as many citizens as possible to stay current with the project and contribute their perceptions and ideas.
  3. Status of ping
    Accurate s are essential to the detailed development, evaluation and refinement of the Master Plan. During the development of conceptual alternatives the team is proceeding with the best information available. This is derived from a variety of sources. The entire site will be flown for comprehensive data as soon a s the leaves fall and the corn is cut, probably in November. The survey should be available in early December.
  4. Preliminary Site Analysis
    The team has initiated preliminary site analyses using available data. Initial observations, based upon these limited data, reveal a site with rolling topography suitable for a variety of recreation uses and relatively few areas with over 15% slope which is considered a severe development constraint. The largest stream drains the AstraZeneca "triangle" through the park site west of 202 to the Alapocas Woods and then into the Brandywine River. Areas of wetlands have been ped in the triangle. Wetland investigation is underway for the park property as well.
  5. Preliminary Recreation Program
    The team developed a very preliminary list of potential recreation activities from those identified by the State, Technical Committee and attendee input, and other public ideas. The purpose of this exercise is to begin to think about the space requirements of the many desired activities and the trade-offs likely to be required among competing uses. The list follows:

    Recreation Activities
    • Golf Course
    • Expand existing 18 holes by 27 acres 144 acres
    • Additional 9 holes 62 acres
    • Golf Driving Range 15.5 acres
    • Baseball - 4 fields (1 tee ball, 2 minor, 1 major) 14.5 acres
    • Soccer - 4 fields 8 acres
    • Tennis - 6 courts 1 acre
    • Roller Hockey - 2 rinks 2.5 acre
    • Ice Hockey - 2 sheets 3 acres
    • Mile Track w/ interior field events 5.5 acres
    • Football Field 2.3 acres
    • Lacrosse - 2 fields 4.83 acres
    • Field Hockey - 2 fields 4 acres
    • Playground - accommodate 100 users 3 acres
    • 10% Circulation (pedestrian and vehicular) 27 acres
    • Historic Building Enclave 5 acres
    • Stormwater Management 18 acres
    • Natural Conservation Area 26 acres
    Total 346.13 acres

    Available Land
    • Alapocas Site 63 acres
    • Weldin Road Site 89 acres
    • Rock Manor Golf Course 117 acres
    Total Available 269 acres

    Shortfall -77.13 acres

    It can be seen that there is, even at this early stage of the planning process, an excess of desired uses over available space on the order of at least 77 acres.

    Discussion during the meeting included the following program components and ideas:
    • Consider 4 to 5 acres for a regional library if the community recommends it.
    • Add all weather track facilities.
    • Add a fenced 4 acre area for dog walking.
    • Add space for the greenway extension.
    • Note that some uses may overlap and the plan may accommodate more uses than seems possible at first.
    • Rock Manor Golf Course management is flexible in terms of considering varying uses and working to accommodate varying use patterns.
    • All of the Rock Manor Golf Course should be included in the survey to enable that property to be addressed in the plan if appropriate.
    • Note that road improvements will consume some land even though they are not on the initial list.
    • Before serious suggestions for new facilities are made we need to examine existing facilities to insure there is no duplication.
    • Priorities for program elements will be established through public involvement in the Technical Committees, the Open Houses, recommendations of the Committee, and through the project structure.
    • The point was made that the community should distinguish between burning desires and real needs, as there are already a wealth of facilities in the larger area.
    • Subsequent iterations of recreational program development will become more specific in terms of numbers and sizes.
  6. Discussion of Preliminary Goals
    The Committee discussed the list of preliminary goals prepared by the team and concluded with the following working list:
    • Maximize open space.
    • Integrate stormwater management structures into the open space design as aesthetic elements of the park.
    • Create natural habitat diversity in conjunction with stormwater management and wetland mitigation structures.
    • Provide environmental corridors and buffer zones with diverse natural habitats connecting to the greenway, bicycle and pedestrian system.
    • Use new plantings to create a diverse and attractive, natural, indigenous sustainable landscape.
    • Provide pedestrian and service vehicle connection between park areas on each side of Route 202.
    • Renovate (and in some cases relocated, if necessary) historic buildings for reuse as support space for public use.
    • Provide a variety of active and passive recreational opportunities that will benefit the community.
    • Extend the greenway to the Brandywine River.
    The team was encouraged to not rule out the possibility of additional property acquisition should it prove advisable to accomplish a specific goal. Concerns about the condition of area infrastructure, particularly the Matson Run sewer, were expressed with a desire to address these as part of the Master Plan.
  7. Next Steps
    The next Recreation and Historic Preservation Committee meeting will be held at the Ronald McDonald House on September 22, 1999 at 7:30 PM. The purpose of the meeting will be to take the working documents from today and discuss and refine them.