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April 11, 2008     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2008

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2 - CAPE GAZETI - Friday, April 11 - Monday, April 14, Destination Station plan draws mixed reviews, Results of meeting to go to state legislators By Ryan Mavity Cape Gazette staff A land swap that would free up space for the proposed Destination Station Center met a mixed reac- tion from a small crowd at a Monday, March 7, public meeting at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. -In the proposed exchange, Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) would free up one acre of land at the park and ride, adjacent to Jungle Jim's, in return for a parcel of land of equal value at the northeast comer of Route 24 and Mulberry Knoll Road. The acre at the park and ride would then be used for Destination Station, although details of who would ultimately control the land have not been worked out, said Ralph Reeb, director of planning for DelDOT. The park and ride off Route 1 would not lose any of its 500 spaces, Reeb said. The land on Route 24 would be used for a future satellite  parking facility with more than 600 spaces. Reeb said DelDOT has four rea- sons for the project: to expand Ryan Mavlty photo Ralph Reel), De[DOT ditor of planning, speaks at the public hearing. transit system capacity, increase travel options, relieve traffic con- gestion on Route 1 and to provide an opportunity to combine transit facilities with a location for Destination Station. Reeb said the federal government has provided $1 million, through Sen. Tom C arper's office, to support trans- portation expenses related to the station. He said this Jmoney would not go toward the building itself, but would provide funding for curbing and other road improve- ments to be done at the station site. The proposed Destination Station would educate the public about the science and future of energy and would have programs centered on water, solar and wind education and also include interac- tive exhibits. In addition, the facil- ity would provide'visitor services, such as restroom facilities. The public meeting was required by SB 158, which was sponsored by Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, and co-sponsored by Sen. George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach; Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach; Rep. Gerald Hocker, R- Ocean View; and Sen. Thurman Adams, D-Bridgeville. The bill was signed into law on July 12. Bunting said there is a definite need for satellite parking facilities and there were some positive aspects to Destination Station but the location of the facility is a cause for concern. Although the station would create an attraction, Bunting said he questioned the need for such a place. Rehoboth Commissioner Ron Paterson said he did not have enough information to have an opinion on the issue because DelDOT's public notice of the meeting did not tell people exactly Submitted This map shows the two pargels tfflmad that Delaware Department of Transportation hopes to swap to mike way for the em Station Center and a potential satellite parking facility. The large dot off Route 24, left, is owned by J.G. Townsend and would be the parking area, while the mmaller dot would be where on Station is proposed. where the Rome 24 land would be located. Mark Lally, a Lewes resident, said he supports the pmjeot because it wonld reduce traffic on Rome 1, provide another attraction for tourists and edueam children on the uses of altemalive energy, such as wind, water and solaL Mabel Glanke of Rehoboth said, l'nere is so much brerng on Route 1 now. I don't think  0ung shoe|d be dine or ptamed until eveqing is comdimt if yon are going to do a park and ride is gong reany beneCt and take some cars off the road, yon have to do it north of Five Point Yon have to start catching the traf- fic before they get into the ccege tion and I can guarantee you, this secficm of Route 1 is congest The benefit to Rdmlmth Beach is not+there." Chip Heam of Rehoboth, who owns several businesses, said, "Is an auxiliary park and ride a good thing? Yes it is! We're worried about what is going to happen on the edge of town and believe me I'm with you- But that piece [the land on Route 24] can be devel- oped by anybody with money. This is pmang som00a00 speci00 in that ai'ea." Joan Dearer, president of Citizens for a Better Sussex, opposes the pmlmsul becanse there is no need to have a Destination Station, nor is there a need to inenmse on Ronte 24. But Kay Wheatley, a member of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce's board of dina:tms, said, "One of the things- I've heard residents of Delaware, Sussex County and locally criticize DelDOT for is not looking into the fure. Well, they axe looking into the frame by developing satellite areas." Chris Weeks, chairman of the chamber board, said, "Traffic is not always a bad thing. This would provide more customers while managing the amount of vehicles on the road." Betty Deacon, of Citizens for a Better Sussex, said a satellite park and ride should be farther north and not on Route 24. "Enough is enough; stop bring- ing more cars to Route 24. DelDOT, what were you think- ingT" she said: Reeb said DelDOT accom- plished what it set out to do with the meeting, which was to bring the land swap proposal to the pub- lic and solicit input. He said the results of the meeting would be formalized into a report to be pre- sented to DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks and the state Legislature. Contact Ryan Mavity at ryanm