In this week’s e-Newsletter, we discuss the progress of the Rodney Reservoir Advisory Committee (also known as the Working Group), what we know about the City’s plans to demo the site, why we think it is important to complete the design process and additional environmental testing before demolition, and a CALL TO ACTION for community members to use their voices to amplify our collective priorities.
WHO WE ARE: Green for the Greater Good is a group of neighbors working to keep the Rodney Reservoir site public, safe and green so all residents can enjoy its use. All are welcome to join this effort!
This newsletter keeps our community informed about the latest news about the Rodney Reservoir and shares opportunities for everyone to engage and take action.
1. UPDATE ON THE PROGRESS OF THE RODNEY RESERVOIR WORKING GROUP
The Rodney Reservoir Working Group, which was appointed by Mayor Purzycki in May and began meeting at the end of July, has been tasked with selecting a landscape architect to facilitate a Community Design Process in order to create a design for the future Rodney Reservoir Park.
To this end, the Working Group launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) process at the end of August and hosted a Site Visit that was attended by more than a dozen interested landscape architecture firms. We had a chance to interact with these professionals and are excited to know that many shared our sense of opportunity, were enthusiastic about the vision for a community- and nature-focused park developed by residents in last June’s Community Park Design Charrette, and agreed that the Rodney Reservoir is an amazing site. We are excited for the proposal review process ahead!
2. THE CITY OF WILMINGTON HAS ANNOUNCED PLANS TO DEMOLISH THE RODNEY RESERVOIR IN JANUARY
The City of Wilmington has announced plans to move forward with a demolition and regrading project at the Rodney Reservoir. This is concerning given that the Community Design Process is just getting underway and has not yet produced the specifications that should guide any site work. Proceeding thus, contractors will be bidding to create a flat seeded lot rather than a park. This scenario also does not allow for existing features of the site to be included in the future park design.
To date, the City has not committed to building the park that results from the Community Design Process or pledged any funding for the project. Moving forward with demolition without this commitment, a completed design and plans for funding wastes resources and leaves the site in limbo.
The funding provided by the state for the Rodney Reservoir is public spending, and the public deserves a process that we know is for the public good and that in the end makes a public park.
3. WHY WE NEED ADDITIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL TESTING AT THE SITE BEFORE DEMOLITION
The City began testing for hazardous materials at the Rodney Reservoir following our community’s requests last fall. Initial testing revealed the presence of cobalt at the site after limited sampling. These findings triggered a process for additional testing and reporting information to DNREC. To our best knowledge, that process is ongoing.
We are asking for additional testing–specifically of the concrete in the water tank and the pipework–materials that have not yet been sampled. We know from the original site specifications that there were plans to use lead in the pipe joints. Also, cinders were called for in some of the concrete mix and as fill. If present, four months of demolition and munching would disturb contaminants currently trapped in the materials at the site, with the potential for release into the soil, water or air. This issue has not been addressed by testing to date.
4. LEND YOUR VOICE: TAKE ACTION
We are asking the community to TAKE ACTION to amplify these issues and to call on the City to act in the community’s interest by taking these four steps before disturbing the site:
Complete full environmental testing of the site to keep the public and workers safe
Complete the Community Design Process that is just getting underway
Commit to implementing the design that results from the Community Design Process
Commit to the principle that any site work will flow from the plans developed through the Community Design Process and environmental testing
To take action, click on this link and you will have the opportunity to send a pre-composed letter to the Mayor and City Council or to revise and add your own text. Click the “Start Writing" button to proceed. Please check out our Action Alert flyer and spread the word to your neighbors.
This is our neighborhood! Let’s stand together to make sure the project is done safely and creates a park!
GET MORE INVOLVED:
We all need to work together to make sure our neighborhood is heard and the city works with us on the future of the Rodney Reservoir! Here are some ways you can help:
Share posts on your own social media.
Visit the website for the latest news.
Join weekly Saturday meetings at 10 AM at the Church of The Holy City at 1118 N. Broom Street. Enter to the right of the main door and enter through the side door.