October 17, 2014 — Middletown Transcript — Restoration and redevelopment of Fort DuPont to take years. Some 23 historic buildings in the 325-acre complex sit vacant, many more in need of repairs. Fort DuPont State Park currently least visited park in Delaware.
October 16 marked the start of something new for the 151-year-old Fort DuPont – the decaying former Civil War and World War I & II military base in Delaware City. After years of discussions, a newly created board tasked with the rehabilitation of the 325-acre complex will hold its first meeting on Thursday. The Fort DuPont Redevelopment and Preservation Corporation will start by creating a public-private partnership that will be in charge of transforming the base into a magnet of commerce and tourism in the region. “The state doesn’t have the money to redevelop it, that’s why we need private investors to make this vision a reality,” said Rep. Valerie Longhurst (D-Delaware City, Bear). The restoration of Fort DuPont lacks a price tag yet, but it’s expected to take several years. “This won’t be a sprint, it’ll be a marathon. It’s not going to happen overnight,” added Longhurst.
A similar restoration effort using public and private funds is currently underway in the town of Yorklyn, north of Hockessin, where the old National Vulcanized Fiber (NVF) Plant is being rehabilitated by the state as a park and conservation area. Currently, Fort DuPont is the least visited historical site in the entire state, with at least 23 boarded up abandoned buildings; two buildings that have been condemned, and about 14 others which are threatened and in need of repairs, according to a state commissioned assessment.