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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
October 19, 2001     Cape Gazette
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October 19, 2001
 

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"1- CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, Oct. 19 - Oct. 25, 2001 - 19 Sussex County. p anners defer action on Softball Worldproposal By Michael Short The Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission deterred action on Oct. l l on another at- tempt to have Softball World ap- proved. The application drew nearly equal helpings of both praise and criticism from several neighbors at its newest proposed location just outside Georgetown. It was in marked contrast to previous appli- cations when packed houses ar- gued vehemently against his plans and neighbors painted dark pic- DRBA Continued from page 9 Harkins also explained other roles the DRBA has played in helping the Riverfront Development Cor- poration to revitalize its old build- ings. Each instance he cited brought more jobs to the area and gave the DRBA a return of 7 per- cent on its loans. "DRBA Finance Officer Brad Hopkins is as tough as any banker you've ever tried to borrow from," he said. "And with Richard Der- rickson on our commission, you can bet we're not throwing money away." As for the money spent revital- izing the ferry operations, Harkins said the Authority hired Philadei-'. phia consultants Wallace, R0berts & Todd to plan a good direction on how to proceed.i "The ferries have never made money, Every- body knows that. We decided it would help if We spun 0ff into pri- vate sectors and put in the infra- tures of the impact the complex could have on their quality of life. This is the third attempt by Pete Townsend to approve the complex and whether it will fly or not will depend largely upon what the FAfl has to say about his plans. Townsend had to quickly re- vamp plans for his eight softball field tournament complex when it was learned it was in the flight path of the Sussex County Air- POrt. It would be located just east of town. The 95-acre parcel of land is structure to make it work. We wanted attractive boats, buses on both sides of the bay to serve pas- sengers. We take them to the Cape May County Zoo, to the Rehoboth Outlets. It's a plus for us and for the local communities. "We're in the entertainment and recreation business and, by the way, we also haul cars," said Harkins. "Our view is we're pumping money into the commu- nities we serve. We've changed our purpose, changed our boats and changed our facilities, and it's- all happened with the mutual co- operation from Delaware and New Jersey." He continued: "After complet- ing all our ferry improvements, we again looked at our original Compact, which said ferries and bridges, ports and-airports. So, in large enough to leave a sizable chunk undeveloped as the FAA re- quires and still squeeze in all of Townsend's plans, which are in- tended to host up to 48 softball teams for tournament action. The Planning and Zoning Com- mission deterred action until it re- ceives approval that the revamped plans don't run afoul of aviation authorities. The FAA said that parking could be allowed in the approach area, but that no softball fields, dormitories or buildings could be located there. 1994, we began looking at ports and airports. We looked at county or town airports. They aren't mon- eymakers and they're capital in- tensive, but they employ a signifi- cant number of people here and in New Jersey. So we saw a chance to take our economic develop- ment in that direction. We bought the New Castle County Airport, the Millville Airport, Cape May Airport, Delaware Air Park in Cheswold and the civilian Kent County Airport behind Dover Air Force Base. We've had the ability to use our capital to make those airports work. We've stepped up traffic at all locations, kept all jobs in place and even brought hundreds of new, high-paying skilled jobs. The airports division is going to get even better in the years ahead." Several neighbors praised "Softball World" as needed for children and young people, saying that the impact of traffic and noise would be minimal in an area where traffic is already quite heavy. Others argued that a complex that could attract as many as 800 or more people when all 48 teams play will mean more noise, litter, congestion and problems. Several said they were con- cerned about proximity to the air- port. Townsend, however, has The list of DRBA's economic development achievements goes on and on. Harkins, who has spearheaded the DRBA effort, says he is philosophical about the criticism of the Authority's devel- opment work. "When you're hot, people like to find fault with you somehow. It's be damned if you do and be damned if you don't," he said. "But I am committed to this job, like I've always been committed to whatever I'm doing. I serve at the pleasure of the DR- BA commissioners, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to keep on doing my job. The airports project needs to be finished. There is good work to do. If it comes to a point that political rumblings af- fect what I'm doing, maybe I'll reconsider. For now, I'm staying at the helm/' gained important allies. George- town town representatives, while not present at the public hearing, have said they support the idea and will be willing to extend utili- ties to the site, which is outside town limits. Although also not present, County Economic Development Director Frank Calla supports Townsend's plan. In addition, the Delaware State Planning Office has reversed course and dropped opposition to the plans, largely be- cause this site is in a "develop- ment" district. Such districts are earmarked for potential growth on land use plans and are considered more appropriate than the previ- Continued on page 22 Tax-Free" Retirement Dollars. 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