After 8 months of engagement with the property owners, the Town of Ocean View has approved the purchase of 4 acres along the Assawoman Canal with the intent to create a nature park for its community. The Town’s acquisition of the property effectively eliminates the possibility of it being developed for residential housing while providing the opportunity for public access to a pristine and scenic natural area. Early consideration and engagement with DNREC has already taken place regarding its future offerings that may include a raised boardwalk with overlook areas, walking trails through the upland woods with educational kiosks, a picnic/learning grove for small groups, a small parking area as well as improved bike and trail connections to the park.
When asked why this land purchase makes sense, Mayor Reddington shared that, “Having more open space within our community received strong support during our Comprehensive Planning process. In addition, the unique opportunities provided by this location for outdoor recreation and access to nature within Ocean View made the decision to acquire it a win-win for our property owners and the local environment.”
Ocean View already operates the popular John West Park and community center in the historic district of Town boasting unique events, a tree-covered playground area, bocce ball courts, walking path, picnic, and pavilion area, as well as leasing a section of parkland for the operations of the Historic Village in Ocean View. “This new Town Park, however, will offer the community a very different style, one just as committed to aesthetics and being a great public space to be proud of, but with a greater focus towards the enjoyment of the environment surrounding our area,” said Town Manager Carol Houck. In addition, notes Councilman Maly, “The new park is well situated to provide much desired and safer walking and exercise options in a section of Town where it’s needed”.
Funds for the purchase of the new park were identified from two one-time grant sources including $211,747 from a portion of the Town’s American Rescue Fund Act award and $288,253 from a Sussex County Excess Transfer Tax Grant. No regular revenue streams will be tapped for the purchase and staff are actively engaged in seeking grant funds for the Park’s development, as well. The park and natural area will bear the Berzins family name.