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10/11/2007
Don't spoil Beaver Valley Road site with just another shopping center

News Journal
October 11, 2007
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Don't spoil Beaver Valley Road site with just another shopping center

The proposal to convert 43 acres of farmland at Concord Pike and Beaver Valley Road into a shopping center for a Whole Foods supermarket is irresponsible and tragic. It points to collective poor judgment on the part of Whole Foods, Woodlawn Trustees and the state Transportation Department.

It is ironic that a company like Whole Foods would consider turning acres of cornfields into asphalt and concrete. The company's philosophy is environmental stewardship. If it lived that mission, then it would reuse an existing retail site.

The founder of Woodlawn Trustees, William Bancroft, must be turning in his grave. Bancroft created Woodlawn in 1901 by acquiring undeveloped land north and south of the Brandywine River to protect it from commercial and industrial development. His vision was a response to the sprawling development and industrialization he observed in Wilmington in the last half of the 19th century.

Woodlawn appears to have lost its way with the development of the Beaver Valley site and its decision to sell the William Young estate on Black Gates Road.The latter parcel of 2.4 acres was built in 1802 by the founder of Rockland Mills and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. I wonder how many local people know that the property consists of five lots, of which three can be divided after the appropriate approvals are received.

The planners at DelDOT approved an insane traffic pattern off Concord Pike and through the new shopping center. DelDOT likes to claim it is working toward a more livable Delaware, but has proved in this situation that as long as private funds will pay for new roads, it will rubber-stamp just about anything.

Fortunately, New Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner and the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred have injected some sanity into the review process. I recognize that development of this parcel is inevitable. But why must it go to another retail center when countless others in the area are struggling with unleased stores?

Gene Castellano, Sharpley

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