By Andrea Trabelsi — Two hundred Delawareans gathered for the Greenways Gala on Thursday, May 17th, 2012, in support of Delaware Greenways’ efforts to improve quality of life in our communities. This year’s celebration and fundraiser highlighted the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative—a collaborative effort to create a statewide network of multi-use trails, being led by the state Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources. The Trails and Pathways Initiative demonstrates how far the work of Delaware Greenways, our partners, and our supporters have brought us since our organization was founded nearly 25 years ago. The Gala’s venue, the Blue Ball Barn in north Wilmington, was a particularly appropriate setting for the evening. The barn looks out over a landscape that inspired early efforts in the state for creation of greenways and trails.
For those not familiar with the history, Delaware Greenways was founded upon a growing community concern over poorly planned growth, a diminishing sense of place, and a desire for open space preservation. In 1989, in response to an extraordinary threat to develop on one of the last remaining open space parcels near the City of Wilmington, Rock Manor, a group of dedicated and foresighted citizens came together to preserve the oasis of green. The Rock Manor Park Preservation Council became the Northern Delaware Greenway Council, and eventually Delaware Greenways as the value of green, walkable/bikeable open space corridors became apparent. With its broadened mission and desire to create a wildlife, recreation, and non-motorized transportation corridor from the Delaware River to the Brandywine, Delaware Greenways led the establishment of the Northern Delaware Greenway. The greenway is a loved and well-used community asset symbolizing the value of persistence, community-support, and hard-work.
The opportunity to exponentially increase the value we have worked hard to create in our communities and state, with projects like the Northern Delaware Greenway, lies within closer reach than ever before. Expanding the state’s network of greenways and trails—the purpose of the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative–will mean that our children and grandchildren will have what many of us once took for granted: a ride to the park, a walk to school, enjoying the outdoors, and communities where we interacted face-to-face with friends and neighbors. Moreover, we will also be adding value that will show up in improved public health, a stronger economy, and a healthier environment.
We thank everyone—including Senator Tom Carper and other public servants–who joined us to celebrate our accomplishments and to help our communities become what we want and need them to be.
Delaware Greenways serves as a statewide advocate for greenways, community design for public health, scenic byways, multi-modal and connected transportation networks, easy access to recreational spaces, and communities that contain a thoughtful and intentional mix of housing, employment, schools, retail, and other uses, all of which enable healthier lives that are less reliant on automobiles. We are working to ensure that our valuable environmental resources are protected, that our favorite places remain for all to enjoy, and that our communities function in a sustainable way.