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January 9, 2004     Cape Gazette
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January 9, 2004

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18 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Jan. 9 - Jan. 15, 2004 Freeman Communities gives SCLT 300 acres at Bayside By Jim Cresson Carl M. Freeman Communities raised the environmental aware- ness bar among local developers, Jan. 7, when the company an- nounced it had donated the con- servation easement on nearly 300 acres of prime uplands and wet- lands to Sussex County Land Trust (SCLT). The acreage - located along Drum Creek at Freeman Commu- nities' planned 867-acre, 1,700- home Bayside development be- tween Route 54 and Assawoman Bay in Baltimore Hundred - will be SCLT's to steward and man- age. "We are pleased to ,grant our conservation easement at Bayside to the Sussex County Land Trust," said Freeman Communities Vice President and General Manager Tom Halverstadt during a press conference at Bear Trap Dunes' clubhouse, Jan. 7. "We are look- ing forward to partnering with them to ensure compliance of the protected areas at Bayside. We will also be working with them in providing programming at our planned environmental center in the future." "We are thrilled the first conser- vation easement the Sussex Coun- ty Land Trust will be responsible for is part of such an exciting proj- ect," said SCLT cofounder and board member Craig Hudson. "Bayside is a master planned community that has been designed to conserve and enhance the natu- ral environment found within its beautiful bayfront location." SCLT will provide a steward- ship role to monitor the 287 acres of forested uplands, wetlands and tidal wetlands at Bayside for the development's compliance with conservation easement provisions. To assist that stewardship, Free- man Communities will place $5,000 in an endowment fund at the Delaware Community Foun- dation, each year for the next 10 years. The company will also be re- sponsible for all costs incurred by SCLT associated with the admin- istration, monitoring and mainte- nance of managing the 40 individ- ual parcels of Bayside property placed in the conservation ease- ment. "With the help of Todd Fritch- man of Envirotech and the oppor- tunity Carl M. Freeman Commu- nities has provided by donating space in the environmental center we will be furthering one of the most important parts of our mis- sion - education," said Wendy O. Baker, president and CEO of the Sussex County Land Trust. "Our vision is to set up an office and classroom/lab in the environmen- tal center. "Using a curriculum being de- veloped by Fritchman, we would like to incorporate during Earth Week a contest for school children in our county. The children demonstrating the highest achievement will be rewarded with the opportunity to study the natural ecosystem at Bayside." "Gov. Minner is well aware of what's going on here and is very appreciative. DNREC is here to help in any way we can," said De- partment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secre- tary John Hughes, who was among several county and state officials on hand for the an- nouncement. Hughes applauded Freeman Communities' conserva- tion easement donation to SCLT. Hughes then expressed the impor- Jim Cresson photo Shown with Freeman Communities' first $5,000 contribu- tion to an endowment that will support that conservation are (l-r) Patti Grimes of Freeman Communities; Craig Hudson, SCLT cofounder; Tom Halverstadt, Freeman Communities vice president; Jim Fuqua, SCLT board member;, John Hollis, Wendy Baker, SCLT president; Preston Schell, SCLT co- founder;, and Dennis Forney, SCLT board member. tance of such conservation ease- ments within large developments in Sussex. "Here in Sussex Coun- ty, things have changed. The se- cret's out. People have found us, and the very ambiance and values that draw people here have been consumed at a fantastic rate. But we don't have to settle for that. We don't have to settle on fifth- rate developments that don't in- clude open space and wildlife in- terconnections. We know now that it's possible to do develop- ment right, and this is a prime ex- ample of how to do that." Fort Miles undergoes transformation By Karl Chalabala A coordinated effort to trans- form old Fort Miles into the best World War II museum in the country took a physical step for- ward recently with the installation of several signs. The signs ex- plain sites of historical signifi- cance within the fort, which is lo- cated in Cape Henlopen State Park. "In the summer of 1994, I was asked to submit some ideas from the historical side of the state park," said State Parks Historian Lee Jennings. "Originally the park was military land for World War II The assets that survived time could be made into a living history museum." The multirier plan, loosely rifled Fort Miles Historic Park, came about in a partnership with the park spearheaded by the Fort Mile Historical Society - a 40-member group interested in assisting the Fort Miles restoration. They helped raise money to supplement federal and state grants and were especially eager to rectify the lack of explanation of significant sites within the park. "For the fLrst time, the state has installed new signs," said Fort Miles Historical Society President Dr. Gary Wray. "They identify the surrender of the German U- boat at the army dock, what is now the fishing pier, with pictures of the crew and schematics of the U-boat; signs identifying control tower No. 7. The state's done a good job. The plan is to ultimate- ly have signed every area that is important to Fort Miles." In addition, the state restored several big guns that are and will be displayed. "We want to open a museum in Battery 519, with guns there, a sign identifying the guns and a big 12-inch in the battery," said Wray. "We're really on a five-year plan to have the best World War II in- terpretive museum in the country. We're hoping to have a first-class museum. It will be really neat be- cause the fort is the museum with an interactive display. Normally museums are buildings set off somewhere." The five-year plan will cost ap- proximately $5 million, according to Jennings. In addition to the signs, the plan calls for restoring barracks and building an under- water listening station. "The listening station will be very modern, with 15 different lis- tening stations," said Jennings. "Some stations will allow people to track ships, others will be for sea life." During World War II, Fort Miles featured a listening station with microphones situated just in- side the minefield. This would al- low soldiers to know when a Ger- man U-boat had struck a mine and allowed them to prepare an ade- quate defense. The only time a U- boat came into the Delaware Bay, after World War II concluded, sur- rendered to the troops. The U- boat, one of seven, was part of Operation Seawolf, sent from Norway to destroy whatever they found. They surrendered May 9, 1945, and came to Fort Miles May 14. The other notable restoration project is opening the southern- most fire control tower in Dewey Beach. "That way the public doesn't have to try to go Lewes to see an open tower," said Wray. The tow- ers are one of the Cape region's prominent World War II assets. The Fort Mile Historical Society will be holding a fundraiser at Irish Eyes in Lewes, Tuesday, Jan. 13. All food proceeds will go to the Fort Miles Historical Society. All donations are welcome, as well as people interested in mem- bership. Contact Wray at 645- 0753 for more information. Scott Gaston photo The Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation installed several signs throughout the Cape Henlopen State Park indi- cating its historical importance during World War II as Fort Miles. Want Lower Payments? 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